Bosque Brown – Cerro Verde EP

Bosque Brown
Cerro Verde EP

Mara Miller, who performs under the name Bosque Brown, created the Cerro Verde EP as a reaction to Hurricane Katrina. Miller’s grandparents had lived near Biloxi, Mississippi, for nearly 50 years when their home was devastated by the hurricane, and although Mara’s grandparents survived and the house still stands, much of the contents were ruined. The songs on Cerro Verde – named for the street Miller’s grandparents live on – are a reflection on the family homestead, all the events and memories of the place, and the emotions dredged up during and after the disaster.

Cerro Verde starts with the aptly titled “A House.” This somber, sparse number paints the picture of a coming storm. From the onset, Bosque Brown’s acoustic music is stark, and Mara Miller’s voice has an interesting lilt that further highlights the sober tone of the songs. “That Door” follows a similar stylistic path, but here Mara’s vocals are even more urgent. “Tell Her” and “The Pain” are more of the same indie folk – gentle strumming of the guitar with the focus on Miller’s off-kilter vocals that run the gamut from nearly spoken to almost cracking under the pressure.

Bosque Brown’s Cerro Verde is almost too short to seriously like or dislike. Each of the four tracks sounds very similar to one another, and there isn’t much in the way of nuances to catch your ear. Still, the songs are extremely poignant, and they definitely seem to embody everything Mara Miller and her family must have been going through emotionally in the wake of Katrina. However, I fear the focus is so narrow that Cerro Verde may not ultimately appeal to a broad audience. If the devastation of Hurricane Katrina affected you as intimately as it did Bosque Brown, this short collection of songs will likely prove quite cathartic.