The average length of a song is between three and five minutes. Sometimes music can extend longer than that, and those pieces are often formulated in the classical, progressive or jazz styles.
With the 17-minute epic, “The Pews Are Ajar,” which came out on July 27, Pascoag singer-songwriter Rich Polseno takes the idea behind a rock opera and puts it all into one track. There are elements of church organs, electric guitars and pulsating beats, while everything revolves around Polseno’s poetic lyrics. It’s quite the endeavor, one that takes the mind and ears to various places in harmoniously incredible ways.
While making the song, Polseno collaborated with Cranston’s Tom Capparella and Warwick’s Kyle Siner, with Capparella contributing on guitar and Siner playing bass while also handling the production. There’s definitely a story being told over the 17 minutes, but it’s meant to be interpreted by the listener rather than directly stated.
“Since a literary approach was taken with ‘The Pews Are Ajar,’ I like to think of it as an audio chapbook with nine different poems that can stand alone, but also relate to each other in order to tell a larger story,” Polseno says about the song. “I also tried to flesh out the ideas that came to mind when I illustrated the artwork for each poem. One of the most enjoyable parts of creating the poems and the accompanying artwork was being intentional about the use of words, imagery and point of view. Though it does have a storyline with characters, conflict, and an intended meaning, I do not want to go into explicit detail about what it is supposed to mean, or at least what it means to me, because that takes the fun out of getting to listen to it and figure it out for yourself.”
“I think that if I keep going on about all of the artistic decisions that I made when creating this song, it would come off as rather self-important, which is usually how I feel when I am talking about my music instead of just playing it,” he adds. “A better way to curb that perceived arrogance is to take the time to thank my friends Kyle and Tom who helped create the song. In his role as producer, Kyle also provided creative input on elements such as song order and length. His creative touch as producer and musician truly help make the entire song more moody and cohesive. T-Capp, as Tom is often called, plays guitar at three different points in the song, and he nailed it.”
Getting Capparella involved came from Polseno knowing his musical tastes and his artistic talents. When a part of the beginning needed a certain quality to it, Polseno knew just the person to hit up.
“He is especially fond of playing the blues,” Polseno said about Capparella’s guitar style. “When I knew that the opening poem ‘Maw’ was in need of that bluesy sound, it simply followed that T-Capp was the musician and friend for the job. I enjoy art that continuously reveals itself, like when you reread a favorite book and notice something that you never did before. Those moments are magical, and I had that in mind when creating ‘The Pews Are Ajar.’ Whether or not I achieved that effect is up to the listener to decide, all I know for sure is that there is much to be discovered.”
Folks can dive in and listen to “The Pews Are Ajar” by visiting Polseno’s Bandcamp page at richpolseno.bandcamp.com. For anyone who enjoys inventive music or putting the literary art form into other creative mediums, this is an ideal experience to plug into.
‘TO TELL A LARGER STORY’: Pascoag singer-songwriter Rich Polseno takes the idea behind a rock opera and puts it all into one track with his new release, “The Pews Are Ajar.” (Courtesy of Rich Polseno)