georgia's Horse:
Down a Dark and Lonely Highway

georgia's Horse. pic #1
georgia's Horse. has always been somewhat of an enigma to me -- the "band," such as it is, has always seemed amorphous and unclear, maybe a collection of people and maybe the sole artistic vision of one.
Whether it's one person or six, though, the music made in the band's name is awesomely dark and murky, "country" in the same way that The Cowboy Junkies are "country," evoking the Lonesome West more than the honky-tonk. And while Houston has more than its share of country/folk acts, georgia's Horse. stands out as a uniquely intriguing anomaly, one made all the more intriguing by the fact that it only appears sporadically for shows here in town before vanishing for long months at a time.
I've often likened the band's music to a Cormac McCarthy novel, because both seem to mythologize the Texas landscape in ways that are sometimes pretty and sometimes downright threatening. It's melancholy yet gorgeous, pretty but menacing, with a weirdly Gothic tinge to it that makes it something all its own. It's road music for a road trip where the listeners are on the run from the law, headed out into an alien, barren landscape.
In an attempt to find out the truth behind the name, SCR contacted main band member/songwriter Teresa Maldonado to see if things could be unraveled somewhat. She was able to cut through some of the (apparently unintentional) mystery surrounding the band and give some clues as to where it's headed later on down the road.
georgia's Horse. is playing Sunday, May 24th, at Super Happy Fun Land (3801 Polk), along with Apple Miner Colony, Maco Terr, & Everyone Only, and also Saturday, June 20th, at Mango's (403 Westheimer), along with Paris Falls & Airon Paul Dugas and the Religion.

SCR: So, first and foremost, who is "georgia's Horse."? Is it just one person, or an actual band?
Teresa: Well, technically, when putting stuff on record -- instruments, vocals -- georgia's Horse. is one person. Playing live, georgia's Horse. is one person or a group of people. It just depends. I had a steady group of people playing with me for a while a couple of years ago. Things have since changed. Sometimes I'm solo. Sometimes I have others playing with me.
Recently, Two Star Symphony joined me in Europe. They are an amazing group. They made a world of difference. I feel more comfortable live with other players. It's less daunting when the lyrics come out to tango all over again. Your homies got your back. Ghosts and memories tend to stay away if the stage is crowded. But all in all, I believe georgia's Horse., in a bigger sense and less technical way, is more than just one person singing stories into a microphone alone in a room. Or maybe I just don't know. I can say this -- I myself certainly don't feel like georgia's Horse. But we do share the same stories from time to time.
Wow; I can imagine what the Two Star Symphony folks must add to the performance. Did you have problems arranging the music so they could play with you?
Actually, not at all. Two Star are so creative and definitely have their bag together. They are such professionals. When we had our first rehearsal, they came in with their parts pretty much together; added their own take, which was perfect. They really worked around me, and I couldn't have asked for a better experience with anyone. A very kind and responsive group of folks.

You've got this vibe of being somewhat mysterious and under-the-radar -- you don't play very many shows, you don't do a whole ton of promotion, that sort of thing... Is that at all intentional?
That's funny... No, I don't think it's that I'm mysterious or under the radar. Perhaps under the radar. But only because I don't play often. People really don't know my music here -- or, maybe they do, and just aren't interested in it. I don't really know.
I've never been good at or particularly interested in promoting. I hate that, actually. But I understand that most view it as necessary. And I suppose it is when you are trying to get your name out there, gain a following. It's important. I get that. I'm just not interested in it. I'd be lying if I said I didn't care if no one showed up to my shows; I do care. It's nice to have an audience -- otherwise, what's the point of playing out? But if I never played out again, I still have my recording. Come to think of it, though, I'm promoting now. Hey, it's not so bad after all, I guess.
Have you not gotten a lot of attention here in Houston, then? And if you don't mind my asking, what are your end ambitions for the music? No major-label dreams?
Well, again, I really think I've just not made the music known by not pushing it much. So the attention isn't there. It's nice, though; there's no pressure. I can play when I want, and no one is expecting anything. It makes things easier, actually.
I'm not sure what my end ambition is. I'd like for people to hear the music. I do know that, at this time, I'm not too concerned with what happens to it commercially. Meaning, whether or not it's successful from a selling point, or, should I say, response-wise. If it does well, then that's wonderful. If it doesn't, there is nothing different I can do, really. I can't change how things come out when it comes to creativity.
I say that now. My feelings could change. I have everything I need, and I'm able to make the music that comes to me. That's what's important to me right now. There's really nothing else I need. I would hope though, that it's worth while and successful enough for Fire [Records]. They have been so generous in their efforts for me, and it is still a business, after all. I don't think, though, I'll ever have to worry about major labels. I'm no Jewel.
How many albums have you released so far? I've seen several mentioned, but I've honestly only seen or heard two so far, I think.
Released. Hmm...I have a group of what I call "collections." There are several. Since 2004, I've made eight. They've all been "released," in that if someone requested a copy, I'd send one. mammoth was my favorite out of all of them, and I spent more time trying to get to know those songs than any others. So I ended up making these sort of scaled-down/-up studies of them and ended up with another set of songs. This is where the first three official commercial releases come in to play.
The first "official" release was a AA 12" single of a track from Fig, from 2004, called "As It Stops Raining." Various Production, this really rad dub-step DJ/production duo from the UK, re-mixed the track. It's quite interesting.
The second release is the Shepherd EP. And then I think The Mammoth Sessions comes out in June? I'm not sure. But we took some songs from mammoth, as well as some older songs, to make a sort of retropsective through both of these releases.
georgia's Horse. record cover
(Music courtesy of georgia's Horse.)

Ah, okay -- that makes some sense, then, because I'd looked for a while to find the actual mammoth release in stores, without any success. If I'd known, I'd have begged for a copy directly...
Copies will be making their way to you soon. It's nice to know someone was actually searching for it.
And speaking of releases, did you ever end up releasing Weather Codes? I heard some of the songs a while back and really enjoyed 'em, but I never saw or heard that the album was out.
Hey, thanks! It hasn't been released yet. I'm actually going to work with someone on one particular track, "Thistlebomb." And re-record some strings on the title track. Then I think it will be complete and ready to go.
I've been working on this one for a long time. These songs have been coming in groups. There were a ton of them, and now I'm just trying to focus on this final set for the album. The door just never seemed to close this time. It's been really weird with this one -- someone new just kept wanting in.
So when you're writing, how does the process generally go? It sounds like you don't necessarily have a specific idea in mind when you go into it, or even that you can sit down and say, "okay, now I'm going to write songs" -- is that the case?
Well, sometimes, I think. Yeah, sometimes, I just get in the mood to write something. Though that mood usually hits me at the most inopportune times. Like when I'm at work or wanting to fall asleep. But I think the songs that end up in a finished collection usually come about when I'm fumbling around on a particular instrument.
How long's it been since you last played here in Houston? Does this mean -- hopefully -- that you'll be doing more shows locally?
The last show in Houston was at Sew What's house show. That was probably my favorite. Before that, I think almost a year ago for Secret Saturday. I'm not sure if I will be doing more shows in Houston. I have one in June with Paris Falls and Airon Paul Dugas. Both of whom I really, really enjoy.
After that, I just don't know. I'm certainly not opposed to it. Invites to play have been what's brought me out lately. I haven't actively sought anything out in a long time.
Do you pay attention much to the scene here? Anybody local you like? I try to poll Houston-based folks to see what/who, if anything, they're listening to that's from here.
Sure, I do. To an extent I suppose. I listen a lot to the Local Show on KTRU and I try and make my way to shows as often as I can. It's nice going to random shows, not knowing what you're going to hear. Or picking up the local albums from Sound Exchange for sake of album titles, band names, or artwork. I mean, if I don't know who I'm searching for; there are hits and misses. But you still get to hear Houston.
Balaclavas. They're prime. Hmm...listenlisten, LP4, Indian Jewelry, Devin The Dude, Buxton, Two Star Symphony, Cory Derden, Wicked Poseur, The Dead Roses, and Paris Falls. I'm forgetting some at the moment. I watched a Sugar Hill video where Grandfather Child and Sad Gorilla played, and I wanted to cry it was so beautiful.
I know you were on tour in the U.K. recently; how'd that go?
That was a blast. We had so much fun, and the shows were great. I think Bergenfest in Norway was the kicker. I can't wait to do it again. It was the first time that I had people play with me there. Again, it's much more enjoyable with friends.
Awesome; how'd you end up playing Bergenfest? Do you have a decent-sized fanbase over there?
I don't think I have a fan base anywhere, really. But they responded well overseas. The record label set Bergenfest up; I'm so glad, too. It was a great experience. They treated us like rock stars! It was so funny and so much fun.
Jo Bird and I caught the Satyricon show. They are a kick-ass metal band from Norway. It was insanely wonderful. Next time I play there, I'm doing it up Satyricon-style. Double kick and all! Another Texas lady was there, Carolyn Wonderland. At Bergenfest, not the metal show. Margaret, Debra, and Jerry caught up with Devin The Dude.
This might sound a bit weird, but where the heck does this stuff come from? The music you play is dark and lonely and not like a whole lot else I've heard in recent years; what or who would you say has influenced your songs and sound? I hear a resemblance to Beth Gibbons' Out of Season, but that may be more wishful thinking than anything...
My friend Tiziano says that everything we write is autobiographical in one way or another. I'm not so sure, though. Some songs I've recorded, I don't quite understand. I mean, I don't get what they're trying to say, or what situations they're alluding to.
I've got one collection of songs that I actually pulled from nothing but dreams. Cherry Tree was pretty straightforward to me, in that it was dealing with loss in several ways. All the songs immediately made sense, and I could see all the situations clearly, even as they were veiled in the lyrics.
Weather Codes is another one. Those two albums are where I think georgia's Horse. gave me a sort of creative license, lyrically. Where I really needed to vent. I would think about what I was writing, instead of just letting whatever came out end up on the recording. I think that's why we are so interconnected; we're there for each other when we need some comfort. There's a trust there. It's dark and sad, but sometimes we have fun, too. Putting back some jolly drinks and sitting on the beach.
Influence in style for production and whatnot comes from all sorts of other musicians. I get hooked on certain artists for a while and then move on. So I know they have all played a part in how the songs are shaped sonically. Even if I don't want to admit it. It has to, in some way. Or maybe it doesn't.
I know when I was fleshing out a track from Weather Codes, I was thinking Nick Cave. Vocals definitely are not Nick Cave, but I think in some way the little elements to the music definitely are. It's what I hear. And we all hear different things. What influences one musician may not be what we'd expect.
For me, some artists/bands I listen/listened to and absolutely love are Will Oldham, PJ Harvey, Nico, Prince, Nick Cave, Bauhaus, Nine Inch Nails, and Heart. I would imagine they've had some influence. But again, unless I think it out, that I want it to sound like this, the influence may get lost in the layers, and I would never know. Beth Gibbons, by the way, is one rad lady.
I definitely get the PJ Harvey, and the Nick Cave to an extent -- Heart, though? I like 'em quite a bit, myself, but they seem far, far removed from the way you make music. I guess you're right about the expectations thing!
I used to listen to Heart constantly when I was a kid! I try and write Dreamboat Annie-esque at times. Eh, you know. I guess it's just not in me to be as great a guitar player as Nancy. END