The San Francisco duo of Maria Quiles and Rory Cloud got together in 2011 after meeting via the songwriting circuit in the area. They've been touring together ever since, crisscrossing the country in their Volkswagen Golf. In 2014, Quiles & Cloud won the Duo Contest at the Freshgrass Festival at MassMoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts — a prize that included working on a record with Allison Brown at Compass Records in Nashville.
In April, Quiles & Cloud stopped in to Saranac Lake, N.Y., for a Folk Alley Session taping at Beehive Productions studio. Here, with Oscar Westesson on upright bass, the two perform "Black Sky Lightning," from the new album Beyond The Rain. It's a song that was born on the road, as Quiles & Cloud drove across Nebraska through some "exotic" weather not usually encountered in the Bay Area, complete with golf-sized hail, a turned-over cow in the road and black skies with lightning shooting sideways. The experience and imagery inspired Quiles to write the song. She says that, for them, it also "signifies the metaphorical storm of our times — problems we're having environmentally. The voice in the song is calling out to someone who is ignoring all these problems and drinking to ease their pain, and saying, 'Wake up.'"
Watch Quiles & Cloud perform a full Folk Alley Session at FolkAlley.com.
Video produced by Linda Fahey of Folk Alley.com and Jeff Oehler and Sue Bibeau of Beehive Productions, with audio assistance from Redia Spada and camera assistance from Lisa Godfrey.