Faun Fables, the musical moniker of exceptional songstress and versatile artist Dawn McCarthy and her steadfast partner and collaborator Nils Frykdahl (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum), turned in a stunning performance to their loyal cadre of fans when the band brought their patented mix of music, folklore, theater and dance to The White Rabbit Cabaret in early May. LaundroMatinee was fortunate enough to earn a private performance from Faun Fables at the Do317.com Lounge in its infancy earlier in the afternoon.
McCarthy grew up as a daughter of two piano players in Spokane, WA and was surrounded by an extended family of Italian and Irish descent. Varying musical influences, art and folklore steeped in her ancestry crept into her upbringing, and she has kept a firm hold on all of those touchstones as a musician and songwriter. Performance and art fill her bloodline. In 1997, she departed the New York City cabaret scene and her art school education to head west towards her heritage and the welcoming landscape of the mellower side of America without the hustle and bustle. Listening to her earliest releases of Early Song and Mother Twilight up through more recent albums The Transit Rider and 2010’s Light of a Vaster Dark, you can’t help but fall under the spell of the intoxicatingly strange aura of a true artist dancing along a fine tightrope over the mysterious blend of prose and gothic poetry as McCarthy sings about domesticity, drifters and the essence of life in the young and old. Her themes center on slices of life painted with an impressionistic artist’s dexterous hand, and she roots the foundation in European, Eastern and gypsy-influenced orchestration.
Anyone who has unknowingly stumbled upon a Faun Fables album or who has been treated to a memorable live performance has likely been converted into a passionate fan. McCarthy and Frykdahl have toured the likes of North America, Europe, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Iceland since finding a musical home on Drag City Records all those years ago. Whether you have been in Faun Fables’ camp since the outset, stumbled upon them via Will Oldham’s Bonnie “Prince” Billy outfit after hearing McCarthy’s stunning voice contribute to The Letting Go in 2006, or you are making your first steps into their magical realm of folkloric musical theater, a telling fortune says you’ll go forth carrying Faun Fables in a sacred spot of your breast for years to come.
Recorded by Jeff DuPont
Mixed by Spencer Hooks at House Cat Studios
FIlmed and Edited by Doug Fellegy and Kaitrin Higbee
Written by Justin Wesley
Check them out on tour: