Coachmania! the Coachmen on Holiday in Septimania
When JD King and the Coachmen elected to spend their two-week "working holiday" in Septimania, they little suspected the adventurousness of their choice. This became clear enough, though, as soon as Air Gothia misrouted May December's bass to Majorca. Less hardy spirits might have been discouraged. The Coachmen, fortunately, were aware that Septimania constitutes the oldest autonomous duchy in Europe (at +1,500 years), and gamely compensated for the loss of one instrument by assaying the bountiful folk resources accruing to the so-called "Old Duchy" through the ages, e.g., belaphone, slat drums, friction drums, steel water drums, and sheperd's pipes. With the assistance (and sometimes collaboration) of the nominal Duke of Septimania and of cultural attaché Jonathan A. Thomas, the Coachmen improvised and recorded in town squares, the shadows of Roman ruins, and even the ducal palace. Simon Quick proved particularly adept at native and found percussion, while Valerie Boyd comported herself admirably on a plethora of borrowed keyboards. Even in Septimania, where prog and psychedelia never lost their fascination, audiences reported uncertainty over whether they were hearing pop, or experimental, or trance, or novelty music. Frank Difficult, in his lifetime appointment as major palatii Septimaniae, provided invaluable expertise with engineering and production, under generally arduous conditions. The results are wistful, comedic, meditative, and raucous, by turns and in combination-exotic and unique souvenirs of a fortnight abroad. And, according to none other than the Duke, the Coachmen are always welcome back, having endeared themselves to one and all by voicing no complaints at any time about the local plumbing and cheese.