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Dana Falconberry and Medicine Show - From the Forest Came the Fire

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 29 / 7 / 2016

Dana Falconberry and Medicine Show - From the Forest Came the Fire
Label: BB Island
Format: CD


Melancholic but beautiful European debut album from Texas-based singer-songwriter Dana Falconberry and her band Medicine Bow

Dana Falconberry has been releasing albums since 2007, ‘From The Forest Came the Fire’ is her fifth but the first of her albums to be given an official European release through BB*Island. It’s an instantly likeable set of nine original songs that you’ll find yourself returning to time and time again. Each listen is like discovering the songs for the first time again. The problem with albums that follow an unfamiliar path, where every song is really a separate entity, albeit it one with a shared voice, is that they can sound a little too disjointed, a little too pretentious to be accepted by the masses. But there are three main reasons why ‘From The Forest Came the Fire’ is so appealing; firstly Dana Falconberry has an instantly attractive voice. There’s a hint of the little-girl-lost about her vocals at times but not so much so that it grates after a while. It’s a distinctive voice certainly and one that stays with the listener. Then there are the melodies that Dana wraps her lyrics in, never straying too far from pretty but with an underlying sense that at any given moment something a little unsettling was going to be unleashed. It makes for interesting listening, especially when her vocals are at their most innocent sounding. Lastly, although at times a surreal and fascinating lyricist, there are sections where Dana uses wordless vocals to create a gorgeously beautiful effect. In short then, an album like no other. Not being in possession of her earlier albums and being European it’s not possible to tell if Dana is progressing musically on this latest collection of songs or if she is sticking to what, on this showing at least, is a bewitching style of music and pretty much one of her own. For those of us who are new to her music it’s tempting to check out her back catalogue to find out if there’s more of this music out there. It’s very much a mixture of the old and the new. There are folky elements to the music created here but with a modern touch. The percussive touches attribute to this, while the production is split almost evenly between Jim Eno and the duo of Christopher Cox and Grant Johnson (Fat Fuse) but the join is almost seamless. There’s little to distinguish between the producers, and the whole album flows smoothly from one track to another regardless of who was at the board. While there is little doubt that each producer added their own touch to their creations, the fact is that with such a flair for melody and fascinating and vivid lyrical skills the chances were that Dana Falconberry was going to make an album that would capture the attention of anyone who caught a listen to it. All of the songs can be described as having an experimental edge, full of imagery and, despite some modern production techniques being utilized, there is a natural, earthy feel flowing throughout the whole album which although apparent even on that first listen becomes more evident as repeated plays occur, which they will. We all use music in different ways. What one person gets from a particular album will be totally foreign to what another gets from the same album, but each album usually has its time and place. For me, ‘From The Forest Came the Fire’ really came into its own while walking through (not surprisingly) dense woodland. The twists and turns, the unexpected noises that make a song like ‘Dolomite’ so appealing are heightened by listening to this music in what appears to be the same kind of surroundings in which it was created or at least where the seeds were sown to make such a wide-open soundscape. The wordless vocals behind Dana’s lead in songs such as ‘Calling Mountain’, the touches of banjo, the pretty but still strangely unnerving melody all make for compelling listening. Although Dana wrote all nine songs and contributes those stunning vocals and some guitar mention should be made of the contribution of Medicine Bow as her band has become known. Gina Dvorak plays guitar and banjo, Karla Manzur also provides vocals as well as keyboards, Lindsey Verrill plays the cello while the aforementioned Christopher Cox contributes bass, guitar and synth, Matthew Shepherd adds the drums and percussion. With a handful of guests adding further layers of sounds with harp and vibes, the resulting sound is full and fascinating. ‘From The Forest Came the Fire’ is fast becoming the go to album for those reflective times when you want to shut the world out, let the music take over and just wallow in the beauty of the sounds that Dana Falconberry and Medicine Bow create. It’s a place that we all need to visit occasionally.

Track Listing:-
1 Snail Shells
2 Cormorant
3 Dolomite
4 Calling Mountain
5 Cora Cora
6 Oxheart
7 Leona
8 Powerlines
9 Alamogordo

Band Links:-

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