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The Horse’s Ha: Of The Cathmawr Yards

Chicago-based folk-rock collective The Horse’s Ha is made up primarily of two veteran scenesters: James Elkington, lead singer-songwriter for the wonderfully moody indie-rock act The Zincs, and Janet Beveridge Bean, who’s been in rootsy bands both loud (Eleventh Dream Day) and soft (Freakwater). The Horse’s Ha’s debut album, Of The Cathmawr Yards, blends Elkington and Bean’s voices and sensibilities together seamlessly on a set of songs that relies heavily on intricate acoustic guitar plucking, dreamy violin, and a gently melancholy air. If it weren’t for the jazzy rhythm section (keying off Elkington’s more free-form guitar structures), The Horse’s Ha would sound like a collection of roving Renaissance minstrels, crooning ballads of love and woe. Instead, on songs like “Liberation” and “The Piss Choir,” the percussion taps away madly while Elkington and Bean harmonize like a ’60s sunshine-pop group dosed on downers. The effect is unique and striking, like a bumpy ride through a moonlit country night.


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