Dana Falconberry & Medicine Bow Fuse Nature And Folk On ‘From The Forest Came The Fire’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

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tumblr_nzft1kryOx1r8o359o1_1280One of the greatest things about music is that it acts as a living, breathing memory catcher, soundtracking your activities and becoming the mental time machine that can take you back to precious life moments. In today’s highly digital day-to-day, this can unfortunately mean music is simply accompanying your work in a dark cubicle or while catching up on your blogs. Enter Dana Falconberry and Medicine Bow, whose latest album, From The Forest Came The Fire, feels like a manifesto for outdoor exploration. Maybe this is in part due to their upcoming tour through the U.S. National Parks — Falconberry has been running a pledge campaign to raise money for the tour, allowing her fans to have a more interactive experience with the new record from the jump.

The record itself, produced in part by Spoon’s Jim Eno, opens on the gorgeous and energetic “Snail Shells,” one of the best songs on the album. It rushes like water and wind, with crashing percussion and birdlike vocals. “Cormorant” follows, capturing the feeling you’d expect from actual forest-dwelling animals singing a lullaby to one another.

So many of the songs on this album are long enough to host entire worlds inside of them; “Calling Mountain,” for example, starts out more sparse and banjo driven, and in the last minute and a half it blooms into billowy, echoing guitars fit for the peaks of Big Bend or Yosemite.

Apart from embracing the influences of nature, this record takes a different turn for Dana Falconberry in a few ways. First, she names her band, who have played with her for many years now. Additionally, these same bandmates often wrote their own parts for the songs, making the record richer with influences. This works more often than not, although on a couple tracks (“Oxheart” and “Alamogordo”), the songs become a bit muddied and disjointed, or the best parts take strange turns (like “Leona,” whose slower beginning is gorgeous but whose quick-paced change is a bit unwelcome).

Overall, though, it’s exciting to hear Falconberry grow and experiment in new ways, and more than ever, she’s created music that is lovely on record, but truly begs to be experienced live, out in the world. Perhaps the next imprinted memory that From The Forest Came The Fire will recall is you and a friend, standing in the middle of a national park, breathing in air and music.

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Cover Photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon and Dana Falconberry

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