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When we set out on the American Images Project we had no idea what an epic it would be. The size of the country should have given us pause for thought but none the less we ploughed in and set off to discover what inspiration we could gain from this country that we knew only from the media, books, television and film. That was way back in 2002, when I was in my gap year before university and we have seen many changes in that time, both personal and musical. We have seen musicians come and go, each contributing something special to the band, we have performed live in venues across the country and we have written and recorded music that defies categorisation. On a personal level, I have moved around the country, gaining a degree in Salford and a Masters in London, where I now work and I am engaged to be married in the Spring next year.
While all this was going on, the American Images project was revived. In 2008 Mermaid Kiss embarked on a parallel project to play more live gigs and were joined by a group of wonderful musicians. Before that the band was primarily studio based, performing live only very rarely so this was an adventure and, to a certain extent, an experiment. We had a great time playing and recording together but it became clear that our combined time commitments and issues of geography meant that this wasn’t workable long term. I know Richard Northwood, Colin Henney, Pete West, Steve White and Wendy Marks are all pursuing many other musical projects so do look them up.
For me also, this is the end of my time with Mermaid Kiss. I have had a wonderful time and have always enjoyed making music with such talented people and sending it out to such an appreciative audience. The kind words, enthusiasm and commitment of everyone I have encountered during this time has made it all worthwhile, so thank you.
I know that Jamie will continue to write and record music and is currently working on another album based on the ideas in Etarlis with vocalist Maria. They hope to release this in the Spring and I am very much looking forward to it and wish them every success as they carry the Mermaid Kiss name forward for another incarnation.
Meanwhile, I will bow out with ‘Another Country’.
It has been long promised, delayed many times, been through more permutations than I care to think about but here it is. I make no excuses for the delay, except to say that it has always been our goal to release music only when we were as happy with it as we can possibly be.
‘Another Country’ is therefore a set of songs that are of a time now past. Recording live arrangements in this way was new for us as a band and took a lot of experimentation. As we worked we realised that this was not going to be a quick process and the editing and mixing stages have taken far longer than we would have liked, but we were keen to do justice to the songs. After many revisions we made the decision to keep as close as possible to the arrangements as performed live through 2009/10 so what you will hear contains many aspects of that time, with acoustic instruments, lots of woodwind, and a folky feel with echoes of Americana. We hope you enjoy it.
Evelyn, October 2012
This has been a long project and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who inspired us along the way with photos and stories, a small selection of which can be found on these pages.
Cover image by Rachel Schroeder
Evelyn Downing: Vocals, harmony vocals,
Wendy Marks: Flute, cor anglais, oboe, recorder, harmony vocals
Jamie Field: Acoustic guitar
Pete West: Acoustic, electric and bass guitars, harmony vocals
Colin Henney: Keyboards
Steve White: Drums
Richard Northwood: Bass guitar on The Scissored Ground
M.J. Gray: Newsreader on Rhonda and the Paper Crane
Find out more about the American Images Project here >>
Recorded, engineered and produced by Evelyn Downing
with additional recording by Steve Redfearn at Rockhopper Studios
Mixed by Evelyn Downing and Andrew Garman at The Goat Shed
Words and music: Jamie Field and Evelyn Downing
Interludes for Cor Anglais and Piano: Wendy Marks and Colin Henney
Words for The Scissored Ground: Rachel Schroeder
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