The idea of Miss River came to Sarah Quintana during her residency when she was exploring bowls and cups and their relationship with soundwaves and water. The Delta Demitasse was itself a metaphor referring to New Orleans (a bowl) and its relation to the Mississippi River. Fundamentally, the unique process that led to the creation of the record differs from what you currently hear. It was a bit more spacious and featured a lot of documenting and improvisation with video and audio. Miss River was more of Sarah Quintana sitting down and deciding to create a catchy album with a relevant name. As Sarah Quintana was creating Miss River, she explored female archetypes and the River as not only a destructive and creative force but also life-giving and nurturing. It was also an exciting way to respond to Ol’ Man River, the American Songbook that portrays River Mississippi as an indifferent man. Sarah Quintana knew how important the song was culturally, and wanted to create a deeper conversation with the river. Consequently, it became a study of the river’s various personalities and feminine natures through songs.
Sarah Quintana’s approach to The World Has Changed was in some aspects different from that of the subsequent album, Miss River. For instance, The World has Changed, was more of a collection of tunes. When Sarah Quintana created her first album, not a lot of women were in the jazz industry, and she was just starting to feel her way around the jazz scene. At the time, Ingrid Lucia was the only woman Sarah Quintana knew in the local jazz industry, so she approached Ingrid to produce her first album. The album was tasteful and the performances fantastic. However, with regards to the process, the level of Sarah Quintana’s voice and guitar playing was not as good in her first album as it was in her second album. Her residency really gave her time to ask herself essential aesthetic questions which helped her grow musically.
Miss River was inspired by the answers she got from her music aesthetic exploration. Miss River was more of art than a collection of tunes, and Sarah Quintana had found true originality. With the help of Dave Glasser and Mark Bingham, she was able to turn her artistic concepts into songs. One of the great things Sarah Quintana enjoyed during her residency was an abundance of talented players who had a significant appreciation for the creative process.
Pedal steel guitar makes Sarah Quintana’s music sweet and special. It is like chantilly on a cake. In Miss River, Sarah Quintana collaborated with Richard Comeaux on a blues tune that ended up becoming the album’s anthem. Duncan Symonds was also very instrumental in the live band.