[Cover photo credit to Paul Silverman Photography]
Catherine Miles & Jay Mafale are a duo of married co-conspirators in songwriting and performance. Influenced by Modern Folk, Pop, and their own theater backgrounds, they aim to engage audiences with their Catherine’s powerful vocals and guitar playing from Jay that drives a narrative feeling.
They feel that their shared experience has taught them a lot about “perseverance and perspective,” and those are things they bring to their musicianship.
Today, we’re very pleased to debut their new track “March” on Wildfire Music + News. It’s taken from their album Be Brave which will arrive on September 29th, 2023.
The song considers the life and challenges of a young woman in the Midwest with wider implications about American life. With her name both “March” and her necessary movement forward in life a “march”, she seems to partake of the country’s own struggles. She becomes an “everywoman” who may be, from a less than valuing perspective, a “plain jane with a name tag in a shopping mall”. Yet she exists in the midst of beautiful and disturbing things about America, with a single guiding element being forward movement.
Catharine Miles delivers vocals on the track in a very pragmatic tone when speaking about the title character, as if to give us a ground-level perspective, but when zooming out to talk about the country, often brings in a more soaring range as indicative of possibility as tragedy. The orchestration on the song is built around the thematic beat which keeps circling back to the character’s pace but subtly brings in and complements the feeling of a bigger, more majestic picture that’s possible but somewhat beyond reach at this time.
Catherine Miles shares:
On a Midwest tour many years ago, as a passenger in a car rolling along a highway in Ohio, I wrote in a notebook, “girl in a field swaying in the breeze.” I was thinking how different it must have been for a girl to grow up with all that vast land and open sky ⎯ so very different from the northeast, suburban, rocky shoreline where I grew up. Then I thought about being a woman in this country and realized that no matter where you grew up, it was also probably very much the same.
On the track “March” Catherine Miles handles lead and harmony vocals, Jay Mafale is on guitars, harmony vocals, shaker, tambourine, hand claps, and ukulele, Eric Puente is on drums, congas, and djembe, Jason Rafalak is on upright bass, Paul Silverman is on keyboards and accordion, Brad Yoder handles soprano saxophone and glockenspiel. The song was Produced by Catherine Miles and Jay Mafale, mixed and mastered by Phil Henry, and recorded by Jay Mafale with additional recording by Eric Puente, Jason Rafalak, and Brad Yoder.
In addition to appearing on stages and festivals across the country, Miles & Mafune’s songwriting has earned them recognition as Most Wanted Emerging Artists at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, three-time Kerrville New Folk finalists, South Florida Folk Festival/Vic Heyman Award finalists, and Honorable Mentions in Mid-Atlantic and Braver Angels song contests.
They have performed as Official Showcase Artists at the Northeast Regional (NERFA), Southeast Regional (SERFA), Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM), and Southwest Regional (SWRFA) Conferences.
Audiences first came to know them in a trio, The YaYas, with piano man Paul SIlverman. More recent years have found them touring the country with friends Carolann Solebello and Karyn Oliver as No Fuss and Feathers.