Austin360 Artist of the Month check-in: Dana Falconberry talks about Medicine Bow

Our Austin360 Artist of the Month for April is Dana Falconberry & Medicine Bow, and the latter half of that designation is a significant part of the act. Falconberry’s 2012 record “Leelanau” came out under her name only, but her five-member backing crew shares billing on the new “From the Forest Came the Fire.”

We asked Falconberry to tell us about each of them when we interviewed her last month. Here’s a deeper look at the Medicine Bow roster:

Dana Falconberry & Medicine Bow, from left: Matthew Shepard, Karla Manzur, Dana Falconberry, Gina Dvorak, Lindsey Verrill, Christopher Cox. Photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon and Dana Falconberry

Dana Falconberry & Medicine Bow, from left: Matthew Shepherd, Karla Manzur, Dana Falconberry, Gina Dvorak, Lindsey Verrill, Christopher Cox. Photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon and Dana Falconberry

Gina Dvorak, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist

“Gina and I have been singing together since 2005, or maybe 2006. A person I was working with referred me to her to sing backup on a track of mine. I like totally fell in love with her voice, and am still head over heels for her voice. She’s been evolving musically in the band; she now plays electric guitar and banjo. It’s been really cool to watch her progression instrumentally. … [With] everybody else, I got this band together for one show at the Parish about five years ago, so that was everybody else’s start date.”

Karla Manzur, keyboardist/vocalist

“Karla actually started a little bit before that (Parish show). I auditioned her because another singer had dropped off. It’s really funny to think of me like auditioning her at this point, because she knows so much more about singing than I do. I’d be like, ‘OK, this is a really hard part, are you going to get it?’ And she’d be like, ‘Yeah, I totally get it, it’s not hard.’ Her voice is insane and totally beautiful. And she plays a lot more of the keyboard stuff now than she used to. That’s starting to add a lot more textures, which is really cool.”

Christopher Cox, bassist
“He started playing in the band at the same time everyone else did, and he played keys originally. He and Grant Johnson have a production company called Fat Fuse, and they produced ‘Leelanau.’ I had just a totally magical experience with them, so they also produced half of this record as well. [The other half was produced by Spoon’s Jim Eno.] Chris did all of the string arrangements on Leelanau. He’s a musical genius, and he’s a really valuable. I look at him a lot for musical advice; when we’re working something out, I’ll be like, ‘Is this stupid?’ And he’ll tell me if it’s stupid or not. … Now he plays bass, and he’ll just come up with these crazy bass lines. Sometimes his lines will be so confusing to me at the beginning, and then he’ll like change one thing, or even NOT change one thing, but it’ll just click in my head and I’m like, oh my god, that’s the whole point of the song at this part.”

Matthew Shepherd, drummer

“Chris brought Matt on. He had a mohawk when I first met him (laughs). Matt and I have gone through a really interesting progression. When I brought him on, I didn’t want a real drum kit; I wanted like percussion-type stuff. I didn’t want any cymbals, and very little kick drum. But now, I’m just like, ‘Hit it harder! Make it louder!’ We work together really well on different drum beats. I have specific rhythms in my head, and he will be able to execute that and then also bring other ideas to the table that I hadn’t thought of.”

Lindsey Verrill, cellist

“Lindsey started playing upright bass, on ‘Leelanau.’ Now she plays cello, and she is the astronaut that takes us to space. She makes the craziest noises on her cello and really elevates the song to another dimension. That sounds maybe cheesy, but it’s totally what I feel her role is in the band.”

Method to Medicine Bow’s madness

“Everybody’s role has definitely shifted some and morphed throughout our time together. But I think we’ve worked together really well. We’ve been playing music together for five years, and it’s funny because everybody has a role as well in touring life. Matt’s the driver, Karla’s like the mom with all the napkins to give everybody, Gina makes all the food — people have their roles in the band, and also offstage too. And it just clicks.”


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