‘Among Horses III‘ is a collaborative EP written and recorded by Haley Heynderickx and Max Garcia Conover. It is the third in the Among Horses project run by label Son Canciones. The project gathers two musicians who do not know each other onto a farm in the Spanish countryside, surrounded by sixty horses, where they have a week to write and record an EP. Both from a different city named Portland (Haley is from Oregon and Max, Maine), each artist brought a distinct sound to the EP, possibly owing to their bases being on opposite sides of the United States. But, perhaps due to their kinship as Portlanders, their voices and musical styles complemented each other.
The EP is folk-driven, with a very organic sound. The music reflects the natural landscape the songs were written and recorded in. One beautiful moment that demonstrates this is the birdsong that can be heard at the end of ‘The Park’ and start of ‘Crow Song’.
Imagery of a house by a river, plum trees, and highland birds in ‘Little Wind’ also mirror the site of the song’s conception. The raw, unaltered sound creates a timeless feel. The centrepieces of the EP are the vocals and acoustic guitar. Some songs feature minimal drums or claps, but never overpower the delicate, emotional vocal performances from the duo.
Both voices blend well, but neither compromises their original style for the sake of the project. Subtle differences in their vocal styles and accents add an interesting flavour that would likely not come through in a duo who had been performing together for a long time.
Max’s voice really shines on the final track, ‘Crow Song’, a melancholic song about wanderlust which proclaims ‘I’ll be home wherever I go’. ‘Francis’ contains strong harmonies from the two performers in an eerie drone. However, the standout song on the EP is a track called ‘Mother’. A poignant and personal lament from Haley, where she describes the difficulties associated with being raised in a multicultural family. The lyric, ‘Mother, I’m torn between two different homes’, is revealed in an affecting tone. The song was written and recorded in a week, but the emotional intensity and moving passion behind the story has likely been developing in Haley for the majority of her life.
Listen to Among Horses III below.