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FAUN FABLES

Faun Fables

Family Album - 2024 Reissue

    Happy 20th birthday to ‘Family Album’, the third recording of Faun Fables and the first one released on Drag City.

    These songs belong to sons and daughters, entwined and orphaned, domesticated and feral; to all the family vines unravelling from a ball of yarn.

    In this family album, runaways graze the wild together, a mother finds her courage playing the piano, dogs become thieves and wolves, and a son is taken too soon. Fourteen-year-old nymphs sit dangerously at the crossroads, a younger brother tries to find his place, packs of girls defeat fear with a march, and the nightly adventures of the household mouse are spied upon.

    Dawn McCarthy’s creative background was forged in oral tradition amidst a large musical family in Spokane, Washington; studying piano, music theatre, rock bands, guitar, folklore and ethnomusicology. Dawn cut her teeth as a singer and performer with various bands and cabarets in Madison, Wisconsin and New York City, most notably as yodeller with the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, who inspired her to want a gypsy life with a kindred spirit someday. Her focus took a pivotal turn in that direction in 1997 with a solo quest through the UK and Ireland and their bardic traditions; singing songs in clubs and homes, all the while undergoing a pastoral, psychological experience with the land. Upon her return to the States, a fateful meeting with Oakland, CA born-and-raised Nils Frykdahl (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) moved McCarthy back to the West to begin a new creative collaboration in the thriving hills and art community of the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Since 1999, Faun Fables have released six albums and performed their animist, otherworldly folk music across North America and Europe, with shows in Australia, New Zealand and Israel, as well. Dawn’s writing and voice (described by The New Yorker as “one of the more compelling instruments in contemporary music”) opens hearts and minds with a whisper to a rallying battle cry, further animated by Frykdahl’s adventurous musicality and vocals.
    Dawn has written musical theatre performed by the Idyllwild Arts Academy, among others, and has lent her vocals to Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy on ‘The Letting Go’ and ‘What the Brothers Sang’. In 2022, Faun Fables debuted their family band, joined onstage by their daughters with vocals, percussion, keyboard and dance.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Eyes Of A Bird
    2. Poem, No. 2
    3. A Mother
    4. And A Piano
    5. Lucy Belle
    6. Joshua
    7. Nop Of Time
    8. Still Here
    9. Preview
    10. Higher
    11. Carousel With
    12. Madonnas
    13. Rising Din
    14. Fear March
    15. Eternal
    16. Mouse Song
    17. Old And Light

    Faun Fables

    Mother Twilight - 2024 Reissue

      ‘Mother Twilight’ is the second Faun Fables album. It has since been noted by Scottish author R.J. Stewart as a work containing true artifacts of the oral underworld tradition. Dawn and Nils made a handassembled first pressing and peddled it to nearly every bar and rural hall across North America from 2001 to 2003. Drag City reissued the CD in 2004.

      Things are glowing outside, enough to bring any sun worshiper in for the night. But you must remain outside and begin walking. It’ll prepare you for the night, which otherwise comes as a chilling surprise. If you pay attention this time, maybe you’ll understand why you’re becoming invisible. When your memory began, it wasn’t startling, wasn’t a mistake. It came out of an old, dark and familiar thing, like a storyteller, like Twilight… so save us from fear, mother, and tell your story.

      Dawn McCarthy’s creative background was forged in oral tradition amidst a large musical family in Spokane, Washington; studying piano, music theatre, rock bands, guitar, folklore and ethnomusicology. Dawn cut her teeth as a singer and performer with various bands and cabarets in Madison, Wisconsin and New York City, most notably as yodeller with the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, who inspired her to want a gypsy life with a kindred spirit someday. Her focus took a pivotal turn in that direction in 1997 with a solo quest through the UK and Ireland and their bardic traditions; singing songs in clubs and homes, all the while undergoing a pastoral, psychological experience with the land. Upon her return to the States, a fateful meeting with Oakland, CA born-and-raised Nils Frykdahl (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) moved McCarthy back to the West to begin a new creative collaboration in the thriving hills and art community of the San Francisco Bay Area.

      Since 1999, Faun Fables have released six albums and performed their animist, otherworldly folk music across North America and Europe, with shows in Australia, New Zealand and Israel, as well. Dawn’s writing and voice (described by The New Yorker as “one of the more compelling instruments in contemporary music”) opens hearts and minds with a whisper to a rallying battle cry, further animated by Frykdahl’s adventurous musicality and vocals.

      Dawn has written musical theatre performed by the Idyllwild Arts Academy, among others, and has lent her vocals to Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy on ‘The Letting Go’ and ‘What the Brothers Sang’. In 2022, Faun Fables debuted their family band, joined onstage by their daughters with vocals, percussion, keyboard and dance.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Begin
      2. Sleepwalker
      3. Shadowsound
      4. Hela
      5. Traveller
      6. Returning
      7. Train
      8. Beautiful Blade
      9. Mother Twilight
      10. Lightning Rods
      11. Moth
      12. Girl That
      13. Said Goodbye
      14. Washington State
      15. Catch Me
      16. Live Old

      Faun Fables are back with ‘Born Of The Sun’. Since 1998, Faun Fables has been the musical world of Dawn McCarthy, visited in collaboration with her partner Nils Frykdhal. In early times, their wild spirit roamed the streets and hills of the SF / Oakland community while, pilgrim-like, wandering the world and issuing two albums of deeply-rooted, swirlingly other folk music in 1999 and 2001. With the release of ‘Family Album’ in 2004, Drag City got involved and ‘The Transit Rider’ (2006), ‘A Table Forgotten’ (2008) and ‘Light Of A Vaster Dark’ (2010) followed. Now, suddenly, it’s 2016. Six years have passed since ‘Light Of A Vaster Dark’ appeared. Life has happened, in the form of three children born to Dawn and Nils.

      Anyone who has spent time in the thrall of Faun Fables’ bewitching sound knows that this was the dream; beyond Dawn’s passion for song, dance, theatre and all manner of folklore (plus a regular regimen of yodelling), the mythic shadows of home and hearth, friends and family, have infused all of their expressions. Now, raising the family that was once only dreamed about makes for an earthier and more expansive Faun Fables album, informed by the slow and sudden progress of time that occurs when we are with the very young.

      ‘Born Of The Sun’ is in itself another birthing, the songs gestating over several years, then recorded mostly in concentrated periods over the past two winters. On previous albums, the passions of Faun Fables seemed to be laid firmly on the stones of the Old World. The minstrels who cavorted across the cover of ‘Mother Twilight’ seemed out of another, hard-to-place time. ‘Born Of The Sun’ continues on in this exalted tradition but also reflects the rhythms of family living, where each day is a new and irreversible step forward through the necessarily scorched earth of raising children.

      Where ‘Family Album’ and ‘A Table Forgotten’ looked yearningly through time at the spiritual natures of communal living, ‘Born Of The Sun’ is forged in the crucible of now and, as such, has a feeling apart from the previous days of Faun Fables.

      Dawn and Nils and the kids (whose vocals on ‘Wild Kids Rant’ suggest they are following their parents’ path into the forest) are embracing the phenomena of creation as they move inexorably forward. ‘Born Of The Sun’ is the bountiful and exuberant album of this place and time - an old, candlelit world of arcane beliefs in our brightly-lit world, growing ever more profound in the light of perpetual discovery that bathes all of Faun Fables’ songs.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: An enchanting and often beguiling mix of traditional medieval folk and swirling Californian psychedelic sounds. Progressive but coherent chord changes and textures develop as time goes on, building and morphing into a cacophony of instrumental depth and vocal intensity. Fascinating and thoroughly skilled instrumentation and (in places) frightening heart-wrenchingly poignant lyricism. A Journey not to be missed.

      TRACK LISTING

      Holding The Sky
      YDUN
      Goodbye
      Ta Nasza Mlodosc
      Country House Waits
      Madmen & Dogs
      Born Of The Sun
      Wild Kids Rant
      Outing In The Country
      O My Stars
      Invitation
      Mountain


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