McKane's in his thirties and somewhat tucked away an hour north of Portland, but his art-minded interdisciplinary work is some of the most compelling sort of historical studies in the area.-Portland Phoenix, 2013
Sumner McKane is a collector of images. A composer with a photographer’s mind, McKane’s mental snapshots of trails traveled and times past inevitably find their way in to musical interpretations of these scenes. The vivid nature of the resulting soundscapes reveal musical and emotional themes that inexplicably straddle the line between fresh and familiar, all with fantastic facility- exhibited throughout his new release titled "Select Visual History". Select Visual History is McKane's tenth album release, and his first- not having anything to do with his various film projects- since the highly praised "What A Great Place To Be", in 2008.
Recently, Sumner Mckane’s self-produced live multimedia presentations earned him the honor of receiving the Maine Arts Commission’s Media and Performing Arts Fellowship (2013).
His recent self-produced projects- In The Blood- An Illustration of the Life, History, and Character of the Turn-of-the-Century Maine Lumbermen & River Drivers, and The Maine Frontier: Through the Lens of Isaac Walton Simpson (an illustration of life, work, community and culture in northern Maine at the turn-of-the-century), are both documentary films, as well as a live docu-exhibits, combining film, oral histories, sound design, and live music to tell a historical story. In The Blood has seen success as both a film, and as a docu-exhibit. He has been presenting In The Blood to sell-out audiences throughout Maine, as well as in schools throughout the state. He is currently touring and booking presentations of The Maine Frontier.
Sumner creates and produces docu-exhibits based in his educational experience as a historian and photographer, and from his career as a professional performing musician. McKane studied photography at the rocky Mountain School of Photography, and at the University of Montana. He studied history at the University of Montana and at the University of Southern Maine, and graduated from USM with high honors in history, and as a member of Phi Alpha Theta- the National Historians Honors Society.
As a composer: In a review of McKane's 2008 release: "What A Great Place To be", John Diliberto, host of National Public Radio's- Echoes, said: "McKane's landscapes are tinged in ambient atmospheres and pulled by an undertow of psychedelia that makes them some of the most unassumingly mind-bending music of the decade.” "What A Great Place To Be" was 2nd on the 25 Essential Echoes CDs of 2008, and was in the top five in the 2008 Echoes listener poll. Sumner Has has had four records in the Essential Echoes' top-25 lists over the years. His most recent release, the soundtrack for his film, In The Blood has been in consistent rotation since September 2011. The Sumner McKane Group has taped four live shows for the Echoes "Living Room" concert series. The group's first Living Room Concert, in 2004, was chosen to be on a live compilation featuring Yo Yo Ma, Will Ackerman, Kaki King, The Album Leaf and Ottmar Liebert.. In another recent review, the post rock blog-The Silent Ballet claims: "McKane is without question amongst the most talented songwriters, producers, and guitar players making ambient instrumental music right now." Sumner grew up in Damariscotta, a small town in Maine’s midcoast region. This area that McKane called home is located at the head of a river, and abuts some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the state; perfect settings for the cinematic soundscapes McKane would come to create.
In 1997 a trek across the country to Montana brought new experiences and, obviously, new landscape. Sumner stayed westward for years, honing his twangy country chops as well as playing atmospheric solo acoustic guitar. These seemingly different routes have met in the middle and are the main road running through the middle of McKane’s truly awe-inspiring and dynamic music. Aside from Sumner’s career writing and recording his original music, he has spent the last 15 years playing lead guitar in various country acts from Maine to Tennessee. McKane states he has truly enjoyed developing his abilities as a country player, as well as touring the country and playing some of the largest venues the country offers. He says, one of the biggest thrills for him has been opening for country legends such as Willie Nelson & Charlie Daniels, also opening for current top-40 artists, such as Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Toby Keith, Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, Kenny Chesney & Carrie Underwood, among others.
Sumner is currently touring with The Maine Frontier and In The Blood. He is booking performances in arts venues and theaters, as well as presenting for middle school, high school, and college students. He is working on his latest film, titled: Running Rum in the Northeast. He is touring with the Don Campbell Band, and teaching at the Midcoast Guitar School in Wiscasset, and at Buckdancers Choice Music School, in Portland.