Catherine Howe - What a Beautiful Place
I first heard Catherine Howe on my friend Scott’s radio show - (Random Rules, Mondays at 6pm on WRFR). Not only did I love the song but I also loved his story of hearing the album for the first time. I’ll let him tell it :
Spotify told me in their spooky year-end algorithmic recap that I listened to Catherine Howe’s What a Beautiful Place more than anything else in 2020. And it might have been because I didn’t have it in any physical or digital form of my own - so I had to listen to it on Spotify - but I don’t think the algorithm is wrong. I first listened to it one morning last February, a moody, overcast day. My buddy Jason was out of town for the week and he offered up his house as a respite spot in exchange for watering his plants and getting his mail. I had just wrapped up a bunch of work projects and was feeling a little itchy, wanting to carve out some creative time for myself. So I left the computer at home and walked over to his house with only a few notebooks, eager to get some writing done. I put on this album and sat on his chaise lounge with a blanket and it was so damn cozy and quiet and it began to snow - a really beautiful light snow - and a short story just poured out of me and I took breaks to watch the snow swirl outside the window. The album ended and I listened to it again. And then again. Catherine is your guide through space and time of mid-century England, a coming of age story that may or may not be hers. She was only 20 years old when she put this out - and the LP had the briefest of shelf lives, disappearing after its release in the summer of 1971 when London’s Reflection Records went belly up - but Catherine composed these insanely beautiful, sort of haunted, little vignettes, punctuated by these short, seemingly silly interludes that feel like they’d be at home on a BBC after-school special. I love the big orchestration that feels intimate, the jazzy keys coming in at just the right spots, and her voice. Man, her voice. It was a great comfort in that moment last winter. And I felt like, without my knowing it beforehand, this album was meant for that day. I think you’ll see what I mean.
- Scott Sell 8/14/21
Javier Solis - Tarrazú, Costa Rica
Each year a big box of Costa Rica samples arrives to us in the mail from our pals at Selva, and the only thing sweeter than getting to taste fresh Costa Ricas is maybe the coffee itself. This is especially true with Javier Solis' honey process Catuaí. This is the second year we've offered one of Javier's lots, and this year is better than ever. Javier convinced his father Alfonso to stop delivering their coffee to the local co-op, and instead process it all on their own farm, Cedral. And we're so grateful he did. While this year's harvest ran into some weather problems that resulted in half of the usual yield, the coffee we did get is just spectacular. Look for dried fruit and chocolatey sweetness with a hazelnut complexity.