"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Note from Our Friends Fox & Coyote

Constant readers from amongst the Patronage-at-Large will recollect with pleasure a recent "Today's Video" by the group Fox & Coyote, in which they performed a song inspired by EB's "Letter to New York." I wrote to them asking if they could provide a little background about themselves and their process of composition. Here is their reply:

A dear friend gave the poem to me. She lived in NYC at the time, and we had exchanged a number of letters -- so EB's poem was especially poignant because of that. I imagined my friend doing all the things that EB mentions in her poem, especially riding in a taxi through/around Central Park. The bookending lines stuck with me most, though:

In your next letter I wish you'd say
where you are going and what you are doing


nevertheless I'd like to know
what you are doing and where you are going

Those lines were so true to me -- that's exactly what I wanted to know: the details of my friend's life because that's what you miss out on when geographically separated.

I alluded to these bookending lines in my lyrics with "Desert sands beneath, could you tell me where you are and where you're going?" It felt so much like this NYC friend of mine was with me all the time -- the sands underneath my feet -- but it also felt like she was so fleeting, which is why I mention things like "Your heart beats under my feet; I want to be underneath" and "I had a plan for you and me. I drew it in the desert sands; it blew away so easily." It was most likely my own perceptions and context, but when I read EB's poem, I felt some desperation in her words. I tried to echo that in my song.

Fox & Coyote is made up of four semi-awkward and semi-hilarious people whose lives, like most people, are pulled in so many directions. One of those pulls is Fox & Coyote -- because we love creating with each other, and because we love each other. We're also pulled by romances, our jobs (which some of us like, and some of us don't), friends who live far away, families that live pretty close, and a bunch of other things like whether we should brush our teeth in the morning. These are the things that we write music about.

Somehow, and with much gratitude for each other, we make time to write indie rock songs played on folk instruments, meaning that we're an indie folk band. Or something. We like making dinner together and communicating over dinner with pregnant pauses, meaningful looks, weird jokes, crude hand gestures, and sometimes by talking. I guess that's what happens when you spend a lot of time with small group of people. 

[You can listen to some of Fox & Coyote's music at www.foxandcoyote.bandcamp.com].

Fox & Coyote - "Elizabeth Bishop,"
A Tiny(er) Desk Concert

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