Dana Falconberry suffuses the majesty of nature in the orchestral pop-folk she elegantly crafts in Leelanau, her inaugural release on Oakland, CA's Antenna Farm Records. Citing influences ranging from the prints of artist Gwen Frostic, the books of Willa Cather, and the stark, childs-eye beauty of the Swedish film Let The Right One In, Falconberry finds lyrical inspiration in her idyllic childhood retreats to the Great Lakes State's Leelanau peninsula. The result is a set of eloquent verse reflecting upon the region to which she has returned almost every summer since she was born.
For 2012’s Leelanau, Falconberry was determined to push herself as a songwriter while staying true to the sound and aesthetic that had earned her a growing fan base in Austin and beyond. While previous recordings emphasized the sparse and delicate, on Leelanau, Dana’s fairy-like voice is bolstered by the exquisite orchestration of a six-piece band (Dvorak, Karla Mazur, Matthew Shepherd, Christopher Cox, Lindsey Verrill) who are central to the bountiful soundscapes Falconberry creates. The newly developed string arrangements (arranged by bandmember Cox and performed by Austin’s Tosca String Quartet) match the growth in Falconberry’s songwriting approach: “I used to write more about love and heartbreak, but I find now that I am more interested in complex ideas and subtle emotions rather than the sweeping melodramatic stuff.”
Leelanau is an ode to rural Michigan with references to stories both real and imagined, a travelogue of both places on the map and of complex emotions stirred by memory. Themes of regret and estrangement are balanced by expressions of youthful joy and discovery, with many songs using real locales as starting points and interweaving the human experience with the world surrounding it. For the recording of Leelanau, Falconberry and her newly formed band sequestered themselves in a gospel church-turned-recording studio in east Austin, essentially moving in. To say that the songs were rooted in places and visuals is no overstatement; Dana made prints of scenes for her bandmembers to study while recording their parts, like visual aids. Leelanau was recorded by Grant Johnson, mixed by Danny Reisch (of Shearwater), and produced by Johnson, Cox, and Falconberry. The same session also produced Leelanau’s acclaimed four-song prelude EP Though I Didn't Call It Came, released on Sacramento’s Crossbill Records in January 2012.
Falconberry is thriving musically, heralded by the Austin Chronicle as one of the city’s “most arresting female vocalists” and in 2011 she starred in the critically-lauded documentary on the Austin music scene, Echotone, a New York Times Critics’ Pick. In addition to her solo work, Dana has worked extensively with her contemporaries, frequently collaborating with Matt Bauer (Brooklyn) and most recently providing backing vocals for the Heartless Bastards (Austin) for their spring 2012 tour. She has shared stages with Okkervil River, Shearwater, Megafaun, Father John Misty and Dr. Dog, captivating audiences with her powerful live shows. Falconberry has retained the Leelanau band to bring the songs to life on stage, receiving praise far beyond Austin's city limits. In addition to extensive tours through the US, Europe, and Japan, Dana has recorded two Daytotter sessions and a Laundromatinee session for My Old Kentucky Blog.
Dana Falconberry releases Leelanau on October 9th, 2012 on Antenna Farm Records!