Dana Falconberry weaves an intoxicating enviro-friendly spell
Dana Falconberry loves her job. “I do chain stitching full-time to make money,” she says. “It’s machine embroidering, but it’s cranked by hand; it looks like an old sewing machine. I’ve also done some block printing, and it’s the same part of my brain that’s stimulated by both things. I love it.”
Falconberry can also take comfort in the considerable strides she’s made as a singer/songwriter on the new From The Forest Came The Fire (Modern Outsider). Largely produced by Spoon’s Jim Eno at his Public Hi-Fi studio in Falconberry’s adopted hometown of Austin, Texas, it’s her fourth album and the first with her backup band, Medicine Bow, as an o cial co-headliner. While previous e orts had their considerable avant-folk charms, they sometimes came across as intellectual exercises driven by her strengths as a lyricist and her ongoing fascination with the points where the natural and the supernatural converge.
On From The Forest, Falconberry continues along a similar cosmic Earth Mother path while heading ever deeper into the thicket—though leading more with her heart than her head. Meanwhile, her latest interaction with Medicine Bow has produced something a little closer to roots rock—albeit of the sort that Kate Bush might embrace. “I’m not trying to be different, but I’ve never really gravitated to the same sort of structure that most music uses,” says the 36-year-old Falconberry, who started writing music while attending tiny Hendrix College in Arkansas. “I’m really into these long songs with lots of different parts.”
Inspired by her late grandmother, Falconberry wrote much of what would become From The Forest while on a series of isolated retreats in remote areas of Arkansas and New Mexico. She took that a step further in 2015, with live shows under the stars at New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in her home state of Michigan.
And there are more outdoor shows to come. “I’ll give this new record a push,” says Falconberry. “It was always my dream to become a full-time musician. At this point, I don’t want that anymore. Right now, I want to keep playing music—but I want to stitch, too.”