Hey is for Horse’s Ha: English folk meets backcountry bossa

Pub date November 28, 2009

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Of the Cathmawr Yards
(Hidden Agenda)

By Kimberly Chun

Sidestepping the gutbucket ‘n’ gritty, tear-in-my-beer country of Freakwater and the solid indie psych of Eleventh Dream Day, Janet Beveridge Bean takes a whole other route — toward the music of the English folk revival — with the Horses’s Ha, a collaboration with Brit ex-pat James Elkington. Working with such talented players as cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm (Wilco, Jim O’Rourke), bassist Nick Macri (Euphone), and drummer Charles Rumback (L’Altra, Via Tania), the pair have dreamed up a series of songs and sounds that lightly touch on the C&W soundtracks of ‘70s American cinema, the immaculate vocals and folk-rock orchestrations of Fairport Convention, and the agile southwestern fusions of a sleepy Calexico (Martin Wenk of the group contributes trumpet). Wryly named for the fictitious Welsh graveyard in Dylan Thomas’ zombie short story, “The Horse’s Ha,” Of the Cathmawr Yards is far from a carrion-chomping critter. Bean and Elkington and ensemble make English-folk bossa the most natural thing in the world to pick up and artfully play with.