Mermaid Kiss: "Another Country"
The idea for the American Images Project originated in a discussion Andy (keyboards), Evelyn (vocals and flute) and Jamie (guitars) had one day in the summer of 2003 when we realised that, as none of us had ever visited the United States, our perception of that country was based very largely on American music and movies - the propaganda of popular culture. We talked about maybe doing an album – a kind of soundtrack to an imaginary journey through a mythical country.
As we wanted to involve the Mermaid Kiss fans in the project, we posted on our website and in the newsletter, asking for any photos of the U.S.
Not only did we receive hundreds of images, but also poems, lyrics, stories and recollections of childhood, of road trips and rights of passage.
You’ll find a number of these photos and stories at the website – and more importantly, their influence pervades many of the songs, often overtly, sometimes covertly. The cover image is one of the photos we received.
Following the release of Etarlis in 2007, we began sifting through all the pictures and information we’d been sent, did some background reading, watched films, listened to even more American music. Songs were written.
Andy decided to take a break from playing to start a new business, and Evelyn and Jamie, together with Wendy who had played on ‘Etarlis’ gathered together a new and very different group of musicians for the recording of the songs which was done during rehearsals for the band’s live ‘American Images’ shows during 2009-2010.
Now the tracks are all gathered together, it’s become clear that what we actually have are not just images, but a collection of stories told from individual perspectives, threads which when woven together tell a very different tale from the one we’d anticipated. We’d set out expecting to find the nation of the America Dream - what we discovered was "Another Country" entirely.
Evelyn Downing: Vocals, flute, harmony vocals
Wendy Marks: Flute, recorder, oboe, cor anglais, harmony vocals
Jamie Field: Acoustic guitar
Pete West: Electric, acoustic 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
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 Goatshed
Words and music: Jamie Field and Evelyn Downing
Interludes for Cor and Piano music: Wendy Marks and Colin Henney
Cover image and words for The Scissored Ground: Rachel Schroeder