Far beyond the ill-judged, dream-catching drivel that’s to be found in most new age stores, Buffy St Marie has been carrying the music of her people, the Native Americans, into the modern world for over 40 years. This album, her first or original material since 1992’s Coincidence & Likely Stories, shows she has lost none of her talent and commitment.
Opener No, No Keshagesh is a case in point. Using a Cree word for a greedy puppy, Sainte-Marie hones in on a perfect and timely metaphor for corporate greed. Cho Cho Fire and Aim Elijah are infused with Native American chanting and rhythm, great examples of the fusion that has, disrespectfully, become termed “pow-wow rock”.
Elsewhere, an incredible range of influences takes the album in all minds of directions, from the rockabilly of Bet My Heart On You, to her Native American twist on the idea of the American national anthem, America The Beautiful. Infused throughout with the polychromatic approach she’s known for, this is a substantial return to form for Buffy, and a welcome addition to her life’s work.