Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The thing that you have to keep in mind, while listening to Dana Falconberry sing, is that she is really a real person, really. She is not something that you're imagining up with a vivid set of notions and ideals. She is not that pretty voice that you've always been dreaming about, hoping that you could bring it out from behind those lacy curtains, out from behind the fog and into a real existence. She's here. Or, she was, and she can be again. Falconberry, of Austin, Texas, can knock you out with one push of a breath and just the introductory notes of a song that will continue to flutter and flit all the way to its high perches. She emits this lonesomeness that seems to stem from an inferiority complex that's directed at that great big world out there and how puny and ugly most everything tends to feel lined up next to it. She questions what this has all done to her - these considerations of the immensity of the sky and water and the diminutive proportion of one girl of the flesh. She looks toward these mystical, but very touchable and largely measurable things - air and water - and sees in them formidable opponents that we tend to never pick fights with. We just look and curse them from afar, the same as we do with fires and most other people. Falconberry, playing on this session with vocalist/percussion and xylophone player Gina Dvorak and singer/percussionist Lauren McMurray, looks at these aspects of the everyday as allies and foes, knowing that they can't be stopped or contained, but also getting drunk on the very idea that they cannot be stopped or contained. She sings on a newer song that appears in this session, "I am not really alone/If there are stars in the sky/How could I be lonely with so many small, winking lights/And I am not all by myself/If there are birds in the trees/How could I become lonesome/With so many songs sung for me?" It's as if she's been plopped down in the middle of this wonderland and she'll be damned if she's not going to appreciate all of it - every last drop of it. Some may see it as a burden, but not her. She's going to enjoy herself - she's going to enjoy being in well over her head though she will never think of it that way. She uses a soft and cooing voice - one that is halfway between that of a Joanna Newsom and that of a mother hen humming to herself, under her breath, while cooking some homemade deserts in the kitchen on a warm day. She's going to offer those deserts. She's going to dish them out and she'll hand you a fork, ask if you'd like one or two scoops of vanilla ice cream on the side and than watch as you take that first bite in, expecting that you'll instinctually pull your eyes closed and let out of a satisfied moan.