Rachel Grimes    By Dylon Jones     Photo by Mickie Winters     Piano in the pasture.     Everything was smaller when they lived here, working on their adjacent house. For about 18 months, pianist Rachel Grimes and husband Alec Johnson slept on a futon in the pole-barn-style studio they built. The big painting of a cathedral did not yet hang on the wall. A small desk held Grimes’ three computers, which she used to write sheet music, record and edit. They cooked on hot plates in the mini-kitchen by the door, where Grimes still uses a water heater to make tea. And she still had an upright piano then.     The night she got the seven-foot Baldwin grand, a full moon shone through the windows. “It was like an invitation,” Grimes says. “The big piano is here!”     It took nine years to build the house in rural Milton, Kentucky — about a 40-minute drive northeast from Louisville — but now Grimes has the studio to herself. “It’s really important to have a separate space, to be able to keep all my mu- sical equipment set up and ready to go,” the 45-year-old says.     The concrete foor, blond-wood   sidewalls, and hemlock siding saved from a decayed corn crib make for rich acoustics. Same with the ceiling’s asymmetrical slant. “For sound, it’s good to have a non- square space. The sound bounces differently if you have multiple angles, and also more materials. It’s not a recording studio in here, but it’s a pleasant sound,” Grimes says.     When Grimes goes on vacation, she goes camping. She titled her 2009 solo piano album   Book of Leaves  . Her new album,   The Clear- ing  , comes out May 26. “I’ve always been at home outdoors,” she says. She prefers the garden plots in     the yard, the green hills curving skyward, the thick woods beyond   the house to her old home offce   on Frankfort Avenue. “It was cold and dark,” she says. “I didn’t have any view out my window. I’m sure that’s true for a lot of artists and writers: They want a little space.” Grimes looks out the window into sunlight.        “I got a lot of space now.” 
Maiden Radio
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SPIN magazine
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