Fox and the Bird: Tonight’s venue perfect fit for upcoming album’s narrative

Dallas band Fox and the Bird will debut songs from the band’s upcoming album, Darkest Hours in mere moments at St. David of Wales Episcopal Church in Denton, with Doug Burr and Glen Farris. Band member Dan Bowman talked about the show, the first single and the album. (Listen to the single, “Wreck of the Fallible,” here)
littledTX: Fox and the Bird bills itself as a folk choir. This makes me think two things: 1) vocals and lyrics are central to everythingthe band does and 2) gospel music. Are vocals and lyrics the formative part of the band’s music? And how does gospel music inform the band’s sound?
Dan Bowman: Lyrics are really import in the music we make, mostly because these songs are as much about storytelling as they are about the music. The album we’re releasing in October is a collection of songs with a common theme that tell a story about desolation, hope and the power of people that band together. The lyrics are the backbone of the musicand give it it’s power. Harmonies and group vocals just show that this is a collective story we can relate to as a group. We’ve all contributed to the songwriting and composing the music so group vocal delivery is an easy way to show that. The choir reference doesn’t actually refer to gospel music, but more to the vocal arrangements. Some of us have an affinity for old gospel songs. Really it’s just that the harmonies are layered and delivered like something you’d expect from a more traditional choir.  
St. David of Wales is a small, pretty church in Denton. It’s almost an anachronism, with its brick, bells and stained glass standing quietly near the boundary of a neighborhood full of fixed gear bikes and hybrid cars. Any special reason FATB wanted to perform “Wreck of the Fallible” and other tunes in this church? 
Wreck of the Fallible is a song about the downtrodden and rejected on our society. The homeless. The beggars. The drug addicts. The prostitutes. And the feel of a church chapel with its stained glass and live acoustics fits the theme of the song (and the other songs that will be on the album). The space in the chapel is completely open. We can perform the songs without much (if any) amplification so they can be heard just as they are. No added effects. It fits the theme – the rejected of society have no choice but to appear just as they really are, without alteration… so that’s how we want our music to be delivered for this release show. 
Where are you guys in the process of releasing the upcoming album? 
We’ve recorded nine out of the 12-13 tracks that will be on the album. Our final recording session is down at Ramble Creek Studios in Austin on June 14-16. Britton Beisenherz at Ramble Creek is recording and producing our album and he has a knack for capturing the raw sound of folk artists like Fox and the Bird. Doug Burr, Seryn, Telegraph Canyon and other local acts have recorded at Ramble Creek.  We plan to have the album finished by the end of June and it will then take several months to create the vinyl.  We expect to release the full album the first week in October.  On a side note, we’re filming a music video for ‘Wreck of the Fallible’ that we will release in June.
For each song we recorded in the studio, we tracked as many of the instruments and the lead vocal simultaneously. Many bands track songs one instrument at at time, but we had to get everything right in just one take. It was crazy because you’d have one take where the vocal delivery was perfect but the drums and guitar were out of sync here and there. Or another take where the vocal performance could have been better, but the instrumentation was perfect. For some songs it was hard to get that one perfect take, but for others it came naturally. Even though it made for some challenging recording sessions, we wound up with a set of songs that sound authentically like us. Our live performance sound comes through in this album.
Do you think FATB took some risks while writing and working on this upcoming album? 
What do you think the band has gotten really good at this far? What do you feel like the musicians have discovered about making art through the work they’ve done in this band?
Fox and the Bird has seen members come and go as the musical collective changed over the years. I am the only original founding member of the band but most of the current members have been playing together for years. The current lineup of musicians is a great fit. We push each other creatively and it shows on the new album, especially when it comes to innovation with the drum and vocal arrangements. As a collective of musicians that each write and contribute their own musical parts (and songs), we’ve had to figure out how to deal with each other as musicians.
We want a collective sound. We want the songs to be collaborations. But I don’t write the same way Jacob Metcalf does, and he thinks about music differently than our drummer does. So it’s learning when to back off and let people explore new compositions, and when you should jump in and provide critique… learning how to work with each other to make the music better while still allowing everyone to contribute what they think is the best thing for the song. And that means dealing with differences in opinions and dealing with amazing musicians that just take different approaches to songwriting.
But when we have the patience to deal with the process and the humility to accept our differences, we create songs that are better than anything we’d have written as individuals. And that’s what happened on this album. 
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