Stephen Molyneux performs stirring, classically inspired folk music with both feet planted firmly in the American Avant-Garde tradition. Formerly a stalwart of the Nashville and Denver D.I.Y scene, Stephen resides in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Molyneux’s expansive post-folk takes cues from Scott Tuma, Daniel Lanois, Susan Alcorn and Sibylle Baier. “Green Grass Eats the Buffalo” shifts effortless between sparse piano melodies to delicately strummed acoustic guitar – often sounding haunted by more than weary fingers on a fretboard and ample amounts of natural reverb.
“Green Grass Eats the Buffalo” is the final work of Molyneux’s ‘Denver Trilogy’, which also includes the preceding albums “Wings and Circles” and “A Jaguar Mask”, on No Kings. “Green Grass Eats the Buffalo” was recorded while Molyneux was preparing to move to Vietnam, already finding inspiration there.
From Stephen: “My album title Green Grass Eats the Buffalo comes from xẩm, a type of Vietnamese folk art, specifically a song sung by Hà Thị Cầu that is introduced as being a story of the world turning upside down. I was exposed to it from a short documentary called Xẩm Đỏ (Red Xẩm) by filmmaker Lương Đình Dũng about the life and art of Hà Thị Cầu, who was considered to be the last surviving artisan of xẩm. The song contains a series of mostly kind of absurd and comical role reversals such as “The rat strangles the cat”, but I found the phrase “Green grass eats the buffalo”, as translated in the English subtitles, to be poetic and profound, a reversal that was not so much comical as inevitable, pointing to impermanence and cyclical nature. I immediately latched onto the phrase to be the title of the album I was composing. I have found a great deal of inspiration from nature in making my music, and the cycles and circles that exist in nature and music. Further, the buffalo is culturally significant in both Việt Nam and Turtle Island, where I was going and leaving, though of different varieties. When I made this album I was coming out of an especially difficult period of depression that included the death of my elderly neighbor across the hall, and I felt kind of haunted by that, beset with thoughts of death. I decided to move to Vietnam, and began immersing myself in its culture, as much as I was able to. I used some scales and ideas from Vietnamese music as well as my own feelings from taking in that culture, and being in a liminal stage preparing to move to Vietnam, in making the album. Green Grass Eats the Buffalo seemed to me a fitting title for an album that would be both an epitaph of my time and music in Denver as well as foreshadowing my coming life and music in Vietnam, a wordless story of a world turning upside down.”
released November 6, 2020
Recorded in Denver 2019
Layout and Design by Dustin Bowen
Photo by Stephen Molyneux