“Imagine that the Incredible String Band went on a magic carpet ride with Gillian Welch …” – Colin Harper
1. The Fool Of Spring
2. Crow Coyote Buffalo
3. Kathakali Boy
4. Liquid Sunshine
6. Aquí Me Pinté Yo
7. Dancing Girl
8. The Lovers (For Pamela Colman Smith)
9. Pipe And Tabor
10. At The Waterside
11. Sunshine On A Rainy Day 2008
Crow Coyote Buffalo features the polar pairing of Zoë Pollock, who achieved a Top 5 UK chart hit with club anthem “Sunshine On A Rainy Day,” and American-born traditional/folk artist Sarah McQuaid – their diverse talents meeting head-on in this striking debut album.
The women, who each have two young children, literally met at the gates of a West Penwith school. Sarah relocated last year from Ireland to the outskirts of St Buryan, near Penzance, whilst Zoë lives close to windswept Land’s End – spending winters in a remote farmhouse and summers in a yurt.
Sarah is an acclaimed acoustic guitarist (her Irish DADGAD Guitar Book is the standard reference on the open-tuned style popular among traditional players); Zoë plays ukulele and classical guitar. Both are powerful singers, with distinctive contrasting timbres that make the two voices easily distinguishable in the mix. Augmented by flute player Tiffany Bryant and multi-instrumentalist Andy Jarvis (both formerly of Thistletown and now of The Rosemarie Band), Crow Coyote Buffalo is a glorious melting pot of ideas, harmonies, textures and countermelodies.
With Sarah penning the evocative lyrics to Zoë’s compositions, the effect is curiously surreal, revealing influences from the many countries these two well-travelled musicians have lived in or known – Eastern nuances, English psychedelia, canyon echoes and unexpected Mariachi flourishes coming together in a fresh, inventive blend.
The songs are idiosyncratic and beguiling, ranging from the propulsive Liquid Sunshine to the delicate, imagery-rich At The Waterside. Upbeat numbers like Fool Of Spring and Dancing Girl contrast with more meditative offerings like Western, with its mesmerising spoken-word interludes, and The Lovers, a hypnotic ode to Tarot card illustrator Pamela Colman Smith. Kathakali Boy takes its inspiration from the classical dance drama tradition of Kerala, India, while the colourful canvas of Aquí Me Pinté Yo pays tribute to influential Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
Crow Coyote Buffalo is a very Cornish affair. Recorded mostly in Sarah’s home and released on Zoë and Sarah’s own Fly Like A Sprite label, the album was produced and engineered by Penzance-based musician Martin Stansbury. The cover, printed on 100 per cent recycled board, features a charcoal drawing by Sarah’s husband, Feargal Shiels, while yet another West Penwith resident, Sarah Turner, was responsible for the package design.