Fox and the Bird
Gig Seeker Pro

Fox and the Bird

Dallas, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | INDIE

Dallas, Texas, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Folk Rock




"Song premiere: Fox and the Bird's 'No Man's Land'"

Song premiere: Fox and the Bird's 'No Man's Land'
Whitney Matheson, USA TODAY 1 p.m. EST November 11, 2013

If you want to express really big emotion with your music, it can't hurt to have a really big band.

Dallas-based group Fox and the Bird is a folk-pop collective with rotating members who play banjos, ukuleles, accordions, fiddles and just about any other instrument imaginable. Next year they'll release their second album, Darkest Hours, and today I'm happy to debut a song from it.

The tune, No Man's Land, is big and hopeful and reminds us that "life can be hard, but hard can be good." Here's what singer, guitarist, accordionist and trumpet player Dan Bowman wants you to know about it:

No Man's Land is a mariachi-infused folk anthem that reaches forward and up, expressing restless wonder for our fathers and mothers and the heartache that gave us our names. It questions what we have in common with our ancestors and concludes it's both more and less than we know. We often cap our sets with the tune, leaving the stage to wander among the crowd, instruments in hand.
Nice. Here's the song, only on Pop Candy:

Darkest Hours goes on sale Jan. 14. Learn more at - USA Today

"Video Premiere: Fox & The Bird, “Wreck Of The Fallible”"

Video Premiere: Fox & The Bird, “Wreck Of The Fallible”
Written by Evan Schlansky December 18th, 2013 at 11:16 am

fox and the bird

The Song: “Wreck Of The Fallible”
The Band: Fox & The Bird, a Dallas-based folk band with a rotating cast of singers and songwriters.
Sounds Like: The Decemberists and The Avett Brothers jamming on an ocean voyage.
Fun Fact: If you like nice harmonies and acoustic instruments, you will likely fall in love with this song.
Director Says: “The lyrics are filled with shame and loss, but also with great beauty, so we wanted something to reflect that,” says the clip’s director Wheeler Sparks. “We settled on a character-driven concept that sought to portray these things through a child’s imagination.” - American Songwriter Magazine

"Concert review: The Fox and the Bird at House of Blues (February 5)"

DALLAS — "This is our first show standing up," Wheeler Sparks told the crowd huddled closer to the stage than the intimate venue required.

"We usually play in living rooms."

He's not entirely exaggerating, either. The Fox and the Bird has been together for less than a year, but you wouldn't guess that listening to them tonight or from a casual glimpse over the rapt audience. Young Folksters were already curled up on the floor in front of the stage when I arrived (approximately 10 minutes after the doors opened). The Cambridge Room suits this house show atmosphere well. The walls are lined with squashy chairs and rich colors splash across the artwork and furnishings. There exists the distinct air of being welcomed into someone's home -- someone who just so happens to have a bar, sound booth, stage, and three merch tables (wait, that's my dream house!).

To further add to the comforts of the evening, I have known Kelsey and Dan Bowman for ages. We go way back to our coffee shop days in Allen, when they would come play on Friday nights while I ran the blender between songs and blithely requested they play Ben Folds' "Brick" every week. It's nice they let me into their show, really.

It is particularly exciting to see them now, surrounded by the perfect band to suit their hip-folk vibe, and receiving well-earned admiration from fans and critics alike. Tonight was especially joyous, as they opened for Bowerbirds (one of Dan's favorites). Dallas venues are fantastic at booking local artists to open for touring acts. We represent well across multiple styles, and I for one am thrilled to see so many houses spotlighting our very best. It shows a great deal of pride in what we have to offer, and that's great for the scene on multiple levels.

I was surprised to see all the folksters hop up when the eight-piece band took the stage. I honestly thought it was going to be one of those Meaningful Core shows where everyone sits on the floor. I was further surprised and delighted at the tone the music took. Americana/folk instrumentation -- while beautiful -- can feel nervous and emotional. It's very easy for a muted trumpet, banjo, violin, and stand-up bass to sound outright melancholy. I am never more aware that we are in the "next Great Depression" than when I am listening to Dust Congress or The Angelus. (And Midlake! I do not have the emotional stability or proper medication on hand.)

But not The Fox and the Bird! What is this hope I hear on their voices? Even when singing songs of heartbreak, there is an ever-present optimism and peace about them. They sing of home, and I feel at home. I nearly cried twice -- but not from Mandolin-induced despondence, but in melodic happiness. It's always a joy to see Petra Kelly, and I am selfishly glad the Dallas folk scene has stolen her from Denton. (Having been stolen myself, it is nice to have other Dentonites around, lest I be the only one ordering Pabst.) Each song brought a rotation of lead vocals and instrument changes, which kept the set fresh while still remaining consistent in sound. I get the impression that each member of this band contributes to the entire process of music making. They feel more like a family than an ensemble -- what a beautiful chemistry to discover in a band! - Pegasus News

"MP3 Premiere: Fox & The Bird -- "Floating Feather""

?Two years after charmingly bursting onto the scene with their fellow Dallas Family Band cohorts, it seems Fox & The Bird is finally ready to release their debut album.

"I guess we're the last of the main Dallas Family Band groups to release an album," says Dan Bowman, one-fifth of the current Fox & The Bird collective. "I'd say it's long overdue, especially since we started recording several tracks on the album over a year ago."

Bowman and his fellow band members -- including his wife Kelsey, Daniel Hall (who produced the album), Travis Lawrence and occasional member Wheeler Sparks -- plan to release the album on Friday, July 29, at Sons of Hermann Hall on a bill shared by Whiskey Folk Ramblers and Fox & The Bird's fellow Dallas Family Band associates in The Beaten Sea.

"We're really excited about the release," Bowman says. "The album is really an amalgamation of the last three years of the band, with songs by all the members of the band that have joined over the years, including Ray Weyandt, Travis Lawrence, Dan Bowman, Kelsey Bowman, and Wheeler Sparks. We felt like this first album should reflect what we have been to this point. These songs have been the backbone of the band."

To that end, Bowman has been kind enough to pass along one of the recorded version of one of the band's more familiar live songs, "Floating Feather," along to DC9 as an exclusive download. Check it out after the jump.

Bonus MP3: Fox & The Bird -- "Floating Feather"

Bowman and I have a different definition of "making time," I guess. But, hey, those harmonies with his wife Kelsey are pretty damn charming. - Dallas Observer

"DC9 in SPACE, Ep. 18: The Fox and The Bird"

By Pete Freedman
Wed., Sep. 2 2009

At last week's DC9 in SPACE taping, the only five-month-old Richardson-based folk act The Fox and The Bird stopped by the studio, and showcased a level of performance well beyond what one would expect from such a new act. In front of an adoring audience of friends and fans, the five-piece--Dan Bowman, Kelsey Bowman, Travis Lawrence, Wheeler Sparks and Daniel Hall--offered up gorgeous four-part harmonies and a warm, homey sound.

That last bit--the homey part, I mean--doesn't come by accident; as you'll hear in the above interview and performance, nearly every song the band writes is based around the idea and theme of the home and all that it entails. Coupled with a wide range of instrumentation and a beautiful, organic sound, it all adds up to a promising start to the career arch of this young band--so young, in fact, that the band has yet to put any of its songs, aside from a few assorted live recordings, to tape.

Which, I guess, makes this week's clip about as ideal a setting in which to introduce yourself to The Fox and The Bird. The band. you'll hear, agrees with that assessment.

And, remember (shameless plug alert!), we do this every Wednesday night at SPACE Studio (2814 Main St.) in Deep Ellum. Stop on by some time. - Dallas Observer

"Countdown to NX35 2010: 47 days ’til we pedicab all over the square."

The Fox and The Bird

Last year, I was given a good tip to check the Dallas Observer music blog for chances to win tickets to local shows. It was a very good tip. I’ve been able to catch local acts Seryn, Sarah Jaffe, Analog Rebellion and even Canadian act, Peaches, for free. And perhaps the best reward has been watching the DC9 Live series (in SPACE, in El Sibil). They invite local acts to play in a very intimate setting, filming interviews and a song feature. That’s how The Fox and The Bird won me over.

DC9 in SPACE, Ep. 18: The Fox and The Bird

From the very beginning as they entered SPACE, led by a muted trumpet, through the 4:34 mark where they play “Traveling Bones” aside a sunset backdrop, I had enjoyed that video so much, I probably played it at least three times a day for an entire week. (Okay, I might be exaggerating but honestly, not by much!) I’m a sucker for multiple harmonies, playful melodies, and a wide range of instrumentation so these guys and gals are most definitely one of my favorite local acts. As they mention in the video, they are a sound guy’s nightmare since they all switch instruments and leads at various times but that’s the best part – they play unselfishly as a group and you find yourself focusing on the band as a whole, which is refreshing amongst the many singer-songwriter acts in town. Catch them soon at Grease Aid this Friday the 29th (a fundraiser due to Dallas’ mandatory order for Murray Street Coffee Shop to install a grease trap, silly Dallas) or on February 10 at City Tavern.

Notable tunes to preview online: “Traveling Bones,” “Mr. Winter” / Myspace / Facebook - The Neener Blog

"A Shifting Cast of Musicians Form A Musical Collective: The Dallas Family Band"

June 16th, 2010 1:59pm

In my purview, the Dallas music scene has always seemed to be locked in a perennial identity crisis. That should be expected from a city that exists almost out of sheer will, a trading post, a trail intersection set on level North Texas ground. But it is confounding for a music subculture to seem so rootless in a city that hosted a holy trinity of music legends: Robert Johnson, Lead Belly, Blind Lemon Jefferson, all of whom tapped their weathered wingtips on Dallas floorboards, ate Dallas food, and walked Dallas alleys. If one gives Dallas history even a cursory glance, one finds a wealth of blues and jazz and rock; finds that the place is a lynchpin in American music.

That sentiment is laughable to most, in and out of Dallas. Assuredly, the majority of Dallasites are satisfied with our more accessible identity: a modern metropolis with boutique, salon, gym, gourmet food, and bottle service, a capitalistic success North of I-30, always achieving new levels of comfort and luxury. Essentially, the majority seems content to leave off history altogether. It may very well be presumptuous of me to think that Big D’s musical talent struggles at all with, or even needs, some kind of historical, culturally-rooted identity. For a particular group of Dallas musicians and singers, however, the discontent was indisputable, because in the last three years it has led them to cooperate, create, and perform in new ways.

Creativity has always been pushed to the margins: garages, strip clubs, the closets and corners of modernity. When I moved back to Dallas in 2007, it was at a point when the live music scene was at its most recent nadir. The club circuit of live music seemed outdated and untenable, especially in light of development strategies that were bizarrely combative toward live music. The clubs, for their part, appeared to exercise a degree of rigidity in their booking that looked excessive given the dearth of available talent. Magisterial and economic forces completely indifferent to music were at work and more than a few people were tired of trying to make music fit in a market context.

Around that time, I noticed show listings for a location called “Swiss House” and found it confusing. I’d driven out-of-town visitors down Swiss Ave. to show off Dallas’ best collection of the liberal rich and found it hard to believe that someone had dropped a club in the middle of it. It was just a house and one that understandably kept its profile to a minimum. It was the first time I had ever heard of a house concert, but it was not until Annex House that I experienced one.

It would be fair, I think, to say The Dallas Family Band began to take root at the now empty Annex House near the corner of Annex and Live Oak. Future Fox and the Bird member Raymond Cade lived there while the rest were frequent visitors and performers. They were intimate, BYOB affairs. Nearly every weekend, it was a sea of High Life talls and Shiner bottles looming like silos on every available book shelf. People in beards, glasses, pearl-snaps, squatted on haunches, cross-legged, leaning in every last corner of the front room, drawing room, kitchen, porch, any line-of-sight vantage to the arrangement of mandolins, banjos, guitars, xylophones, suitcases, maracas, and often mic-less voices in the middle. These house show people and their folkways became a vital fragment of Dallas music.

Annex House was only one house show locale – though certainly the largest – among many others across East Dallas, Oak Cliff, and sometimes further North. When RTB2’s Ryan Becker tacitly agreed to play at my loft, I realized that musicians, good ones even, only needed a literal open door and they would play any house or apartment. As the Beaten Sea’s Benj Pocta would later point out to me, that simple door-opening is an enormous gesture. Accomplished musicians would play in anybody’s house for free or for whatever cash the host could get people to shove in a coffee can and continue to do so. I believe it has to do with the sanctity music is afforded in those environments. It is the musician brought near to the listener, a kind of incarnation. From the artist’s perspective, these are roomfuls of people sitting, mostly silent, expectant, curiously awaiting your voice and your riffs. It’s the kind of satisfaction musicians just can’t get shouting over the chichi crowd that shows up at City Tavern when they’re refused admission to Plush.

Out of these houses grew a family, sharing their creative wealth and establishing an economy of recognition and artistry on their own terms, without the blessing or even knowledge of local connoisseurs who purport to know where the music is in Dallas and where it’s going. As the shows moved from living room to living room, and people began hearing, dialoguing, and collaborating, the songwriters began forming bands and writing tunes. The Beaten Sea, The Fox and the Bird, Jacob Metcalf, lalagray, The Republic of Texas, Dry Creek, Spooky Folk, a personnel of approximately twenty people cross-referenced among the seven groups and others that continue to develop.

The Dallas Family Band as a concept came well after the group had already formed. They made a name busking a handful of times, impressing onlookers with their size and raw emotion – SXSW, NX35, outside the Granada, in uptown, downtown, probably in your backyard once or twice – but it is as a cooperative that they actually operate. The separate members serve to emphasize the creative work of each other, supporting each group and its particular vision. The tambourines, bass guitars, drums, brass, violin are all manned by any available Family member. At the core of all of it is solid songwriting: careful, spare, honest, and patient. They hold music in common and lend their talents openhandedly.

The Dallas Family Band has its own characters and personalities. There is Jacob Metcalf who seems to appear in every circumstance, a genius who never trumpets himself, clad in surprisingly short shorts, climbing any available tree or roof. Daniel and Kelsey Bowman, whose unassuming manner belies their multi-instrumentalism and songwriting ability. Wheeler Sparks, surprisingly kind, sagely wise. Raymond Cade, such the dual prophet of doom and grace to make him at home anywhere, the companion of anyone. Wheeler and Ray rounded out the Fox and the Bird, along with Daniel T. Hall, as a kind of nexus of The Dallas Family Band, being already an amalgamation of songwriters.

Many Dallas Family Band members are sincerely religious, but not necessarily all. Still, a stunning faith often emerges in many of their songs, not some flaccid spirituality of enlightenment, but a living, palpable though mysterious Godliness wrought by struggle. They are songs that live in a tension of being both pressed down and sustained by revelation, a ruthless current of truth, but always trusted as good. (My own personal dream is that the whole of the Family Band, with all their vocal firepower, unites for one rousing performance of Bob Dylan’s “Pressing On.”)

The Dallas Family Band operates on a vital ethic that convictions of any sort ought to be laid bare. Audiences are routinely made to endure timid artistry that masquerades as politeness, as not wanting to get preachy. I say get preachy. Preach recklessly. Let out the newborn wobbly-legged thoughts, the half-formed ravings, the near-lunatic, nearer truth of confession. Confess, preach, rave in exasperation, joy, despair. Such is necessary for the authenticity to which we pay so much lip service and such is done consistently by this strangely wonderful mix of gypsies and castaways and white-collar spies known as The Dallas Family Band.

In the end, a bunch of people found each other who believed in laboring without pretension in a city of unchecked pretension, practicing honesty within a façade, walking bare feet amongst patent leather souls. The Dallas Family Band is not an original idea at all, but rather attached to the oldest of humanist traditions. That is not to resign in nostalgic apathy, but to believe with the best of artists in the redemptive potential of humanity, in its dignity, in its real loveliness and ugliness.

Refreshingly, The Dallas Family Band shows no indication of being naive about their endurance as a tight cooperative. They are content to draw from it the strength and opportunity it affords for the moment, all for the sake of expressing what they believe can only be expressed through music. They are an example of what can occur when talented friends lend their talents and love of craft. Appropriately hard to classify, habitually swapping instruments, absent-mindedly walking right into your lap, sharing their stories with joy. Their performances – as a group, as separate groups – are one of the more genuinely musical acts of charity I’ve ever witnessed. - D Magazine

"The Dallas Family Band Busks Its Way To Success"

By Daniel Hopkins
Thursday, May 13 2010

If you were one of the 10,000 or so who saw The Flaming Lips headline Denton's NX35 festival in March, you probably caught a performance by the Dallas Family Band. No, they weren't one of the three acts that played on the monstrosity of a stage at the North Texas Fairgrounds. They were the group of about 20 musicians from the Dallas folk scene, all sweaty and bearded, wandering around the huge field in search of their next audience.

And there were many.

Wielding a wide assortment of acoustic instruments, they played songs at the front gate of the complex as thousands of unsuspecting fans trickled in. For the folks in the beer line, they played vigorously—and, in turn, earned some free beer from appreciative concertgoers. They even performed for the people in the long lines at the Porta-Potties, relieving people's spirits as they waited to relieve their bladders.

Their goals are simple: to play together, to help each other and to brighten the days of everyone they meet.

Sound like a bunch of idealist hippies, to be honest.

"The Dallas Family Band is something that only happens when one of us sees a stage that we've never played—and by stage, I mean a section of sidewalk or a place where two walls meet," says Jacob Metcalf, one of the collective's founding members. "We send out text messages. It's never planned, never celebrated. It's born and then dies every time we perform."

It happens fairly often, though. The Dallas Family Band has played in Uptown, at old folks homes and at the State Fair of Texas for the people getting off at the new DART rail station. They've even gone Christmas caroling.

What's even more interesting is who these people are. Metcalf, for instance, is a core member of the Family Band, but he also has a burgeoning career as a solo artist in DFW. There are many more participants: The Family Band is actually a group of bands—bands whose names are plastered on marquees all over the DFW area. The most active players are members of Fox & The Bird, Spooky Folk and The Beaten Sea, as well as Wheeler Sparks, Dry Creek, Lalagray and Raymond Cade. But there's also a revolving door for members who occasionally pick up an instrument and join in anytime the group gets together and plays—which is fine by the band's regular members, who encourage participation from anyone within earshot, whether or not you know how to play the instrument they thrust upon you.

Here's the trick, though: There are no Dallas Family Band songs, only songs from the individual bands and players. And, when the Family Band gets together, those songs, originally written to be played by a small group or an individual, take on a life of their own.

"We play them faster and more hectic," says Wheeler Sparks. "It's less put-together. It's all transient. You don't look back and think, 'I could have played that better.' You just enjoy it and there's no remorse or regret. It's just fun."

The members thrive on these street performances—to the ridiculous point of turning down club gigs for a night of wandering the streets with their instruments. Absurd as it may seem, there's a certain high that a musician gets when he or she elicits a positive reaction from a stranger on the street. There's also a lesson to be learned. Whether they realize it, busking has become the training ground for the Dallas folk scene. Think of busking as the poor man's test market: In taking the performance out on the street, the Family Band can see which songs work and which ones don't—without the pressure of the stage. And while they feel that their spirited performances are enriching the lives of passersby, they are also gaining confidence in their music.

"It's making us better," Sparks acknowledges. "There's sort of a mob mentality to it, in that you gain strength in numbers. You get a confidence out of playing with a bunch of other people who sing at the top of their lungs."

And, as they learn through trial and error on the street, their club performances are improving, too.

"The stuff I'm writing now is in large part a response to what I have seen and heard in this group," Metcalf says. "It is becoming simpler."

And, at the same time, his performances are becoming more and more like the Family Band's. At Metcalf's club gigs, the audience (usually heavy on Family Band members, to be fair) becomes a part of the show. In fact, it's rare to see one of his performances when he stays on stage for the entire show. Before long, he'll typically hop down into the crowd and lead the audience in a shout-out-loud sing-a-long.

Surely, as these performances become more grandiose, they'll inevitably hit a ceiling. There's only so long a fire can blaze before it burns out. Right now, though, the fire is burning hot, and the groups that make up the Dallas Family Band are benefiting from the collective energy. After all, everyone in the group is selflessly working hard to help the other bands involved. Each performer's club backing bands consist of Dallas Family Band members. - Dallas Observer

"What It Was Like: Boys Named Sue, The Naptime Shake and Fox & The Bird at the DOMAXXII Showcase"

Fox & The Bird
La Grange
12 a.m.

If it was daunting for the country-rocking Naptime Shake to follow a wild-ass set by another rocking twang outfit, it was surely even tougher for the sweet, soft sounds of folk act Fox & The Bird to follow up all that electrified rowdiness.

When the earnest group began their set, well, in earnest, there were five band members lined up in a sort of half-moon near the lip of the stage while the drummer was nestled in the back behind the wall of folk (instrumentation for this number included a jazzy, supper club trumpet, mandolin, acoustic guitar, banjo, violin and drums). Offering up the swelling, yet still tame by the evening's previously set standard, "Rome", it was clear that the collective understood its task and that being phased wasn't an option, as they admirably began to pick up the pace amidst a slightly distracted throng.

The energy of the room began to shift back, away from individual chatting and to the stage, as the beat from behind the folk wall began to announce itself more and more. Interestingly, the male members of the half-folk-moon would alternate lead vocals from time to time, lending the proceedings an air of togetherness. The togetherness inside of the club became much closer itself, after the line-inducing Ishi show at Trees, located across Elm from LaGrange, ended and sent many wristband wearers to see what all the folk was about.

Perhaps buoyed by the newly enlarged Dallas thirst for folk, Dan Bowman and his gang produced some sterling moments to round out their pastoral, post midnight set. The song that is seemingly a local shout-out, "White Rock Lake," was whimsical and memorable. Yet even more memorable was when the wall of folk came down to end the band's night. To fully let their folk flag fly, each band member hopped off of the stage and onto the main floor to perform their closing number as they were ensconced by a surprised and appreciative crowd. - Dallas Observer

"Upended Reason and the Christmas Season: An Evening of Carols with the Dallas Family Band"

On the Sunday evening preceding Christmas, the Dallas Family Band hosted a carol sing at Murray Street Coffee and, meanwhile, solved a linguistic quandary. The word “folk” has started to irk me. Technically “folk” means “people” and says nothing specific save what its writer assumes readers’ minds will invoke. The possibilities are too numerous. Better to say precisely what kind of folk. The separate members of the creative, musical cooperative Dallas Family Band have, at different times, all been yoked under the genre's title. At Murray Street this past Sunday, their community gave me an armful of descriptors to precede it.

The Dallas Family Band are liberal folk, humored folk. I never tallied the exact number of guitars and strings and drums and noise-boxes. The instruments were numerous and migratory, given and received open-handed among members. Musicians arriving late were handed a guitar and seamlessly assimilated into the musical throng. Mistakes were made, inevitable in such a large group. Certain Christmas carols are fraught with syllabic complications and we, band and singers, found most of them. But all the inconsistently timed verse breaks and verbal flubs were absorbed in a swell of boundless mirth.

The Family Band are loving, hospitable, and loud folk. It was no performance, rather a participatory, band-lead carol sing-a-long. Nothing would grieve a regular Dallas Family Band member more than to refer to the collective in closed terms or to draw hard boundaries. The community exists only in the elusive, transpiring present, eternity’s gracious tangent. The Dallas Family Band consists of all players and any human within earshot who happens to hum a note, tap a worn shoe, clap against their thigh. This spirit of liberality manifests itself too in volume. The musicians emptied their lungs into the vaulted room without reservation, red-faced from the exertion and we, the conscripted choir, followed suit. Sadly, I have never sung in church with quite the abandon that I sang on that Sunday.

The Dallas Family Band are storytelling folk, believing folk. They are evocative narrators, even with borrowed material from antiquity. You could almost feel the promising wind of Palestine, could picture the Family Band as minstrels, leading a trepid cluster of Magi to the toddler Jesus. You could picture the infant king playing at the breasts of his gracious mother. You could hear the low-caste sheep herders cowering before the time-shattering announcement of an incarnation. You could even imagine the Family Band fronting a march of zealous abolitionists with the hymn O Holy Night, loudly announcing their faith in and reason for the end of oppression. (I was surprised as well, but readers would do well to look up the third verse of the song. The historical link to the abolition movement, buttressed by Christmas themes amplify what is otherwise a too-familiar, seasonal tune.)

The Dallas Family Band took songs that had labored too long under childish sentimentality and recovered them as meaningful narratives. Christmas songs go stale as easily as the season’s baked wares. The weighty words are often lost among the garish advertisements and vapid self-interest that hold the holiday cruel hostage. Even the reaction to remember the season’s meaning is nothing but a clichéd rhyme. In Murray Street Coffee, a truer reclamation occurred. It was perhaps the best manifestation of what happens when musically gifted friends gather as surrogate brothers and sisters, daring and enticing a crowd to prolong their joyous strains. - Dick Sullie Blog

"The Beaten Sea and Fox and the Bird at Lochrann's"

I knew I had to be there early; First because I anticipated a ridiculous crowd, and second because I had been looking forward to some of that Lochrann’s Fish’N'Chips action for almost as long and exactly as intensely as I had been anticipating this show. I walked in around 8:15pm and immediately wondered if there would be a table; It was packed already. After some help from the friendly staff, I was able to pull a table from the backroom and present myself as a living, breathing fire hazard. But I didn’t care. I had my sights set on Fish and Folk.

And that’s exactly what I got.

The Beaten Sea went on first in this full-on Dallas Family Band Frisco takeover. Their blend of traditional bluegrass, country and jazz, though apparently controversial to some, speaks right to the listener. Whether you grew up ‘illegally hopping trains’ and mugging hobos for spare change, or you grew up in the easy-life, no-pain, everything-tastes-like-rainbows-and-cupcakes suburbs like me, their music has this uncanny ability to relate. And on Thursday night, they were in top form. In other words, buy their album, which has found its way onto at least 2300 local ‘best of 2010' lists.

Then came Fox and the Bird. It didn’t take a full song for the room to be transformed into a space that was simultaneously neutral and terribly biased toward all things true-folk. The way these brilliant musicians trade off instruments (and the lead) is testament not only to their talent, but to their chemistry as a family. Anyone who has the opportunity to see them should do whatever it takes, including but not limited to: ‘illegal train-hopping’, mugging hobos for spare change, walking – to be there. Sadly, I was unable to record any video of F&B’s show because of the sweet couple that decided to stand right in front of my table in the incredibly, dangerously full room. At one point, I’m pretty sure there was even a folk-mosh pit.. A.. Fosh..? Pit? I guess its good though; The lack of video will just add to the anticipation of the nearly-finished album due out sometime this Spring.

You have to love a venue, stuck in the middle of cougartown, that brings in such great shows that they are single-handedly changing the face of live music in Frisco. And when you visit, swing on by and say hey; I’m sure I’ll be the one sitting at the obnoxiously-placed table in the middle of the room, moving so much to the music that you feel sorry for the chair. - But I Just Like Music

"Album review: Floating Feather by Fox and the Bird"

What started in the living room of Dan and Kelsey Bowman’s home has become a thing of musical beauty. The couple, along with fellow founding member Travis Lawrence, are now 10 members strong with a rotating cast of talented musicians and vocalists known as Fox and the Bird. The folk group will release a full-length debut on July 29 at Sons of Hermann Hall in Dallas.

The new album, called Floating Feather, is filled with new tracks laced with layered harmonies and instruments. The band will impress you with how ardently and earnestly their instruments are played – which include mandolin, trumpet, accordion, and even a musical saw.

It is hard to believe that the music comes from a modern day band of twenty-something Dallasites. No over-produced sounds full of electric buzz are found here; just pure and simple folk with a little dash of country.

For those who follow The Fox and the Bird closely, many of the tracks on their debut will sound familiar. Former singles like “Mister Winter” and “Traveling Bones” have been re-recorded just for the release of Floating Feather. Both are standout tracks on the LP.

Check out a free download of "Ghost," a track off the band's new album.
“The important thing about this album is that it's old songs that our listeners already know; a snapshot of our lives over the last few years,” founding member Dan Bowman said in an interview. “We recorded the album to sound like we sound live, not to sound like a polished version of ourselves conjured up in the studio. For new listeners, we would give no introduction: Take what you will from it.”

Another track of note is the album’s closer, “Hey Sister,” which is more country than folk, folk being the genre the band is best known for. It harkens back to the days when country was more about the music than showmanship. It's sung with sadness and played with heart -- the kind of country that moves you.

Along with new recordings of some band favorites, The Fox and the Bird has also included a rather unique add-on for those who pick up a physical copy of the album: handmade CD booklets that feature the penmanship of each musician who contributed songs on Floating Feather.

“We feel like this gives people something more unique than a standard jewel case or digipak,” Bowman said.

In the coming year, Bowman said he'd like to release the album on vinyl. If the band does manage to press some records, listening to the album in its purest form would be sweet perfection. - Pegasus News

"Album Review: Why Fox and the Bird Are Not Folk"

July 28th, 2011 9:21am

Consider this the fourth installment in a series of reviews concerning musicians to whom I am too close for objectivity. All are connected to a now well-documented house-show movement that blossomed for six months before struggling through the weeds of practicality. I had the privilege to be there when it did. The house-show cultus is still present in Dallas, in forms and shadows, though diminished. Fox and the Bird have been at its core throughout.

Fox and the Bird believe in music as orthopraxy: self-subsisting and without boundaries. It is a rare species that thrives with or without your attention. So far, the band has made a name for itself under those principles, without so much as a demo recording. On July 29, Fox and the Bird will finally release their debut album, Floating Feather, after two years of meticulous recording.

I have been embedded with this crowd for the better part of three years, so these songs are more like stories I have heard time and again from the same friends. I first caught Fox and the Bird performing in a friend’s living room. The sound then was thin and meek. After leaving town for several months, I returned to find them in House of Blues’ Cambridge Room, their sound fleshed out by trumpets and strings. Like all good stories, the songs had become grander with time.

Fox and the Bird are at their best when they have the most musicians, but the fact is Dan and Kelsey Bowman are not quite sure who is in their band right now. The married couple comprises the stable core of the band with an apparent revolving door built in for local musicians. These include a wanderlusting songwriter who enjoys escaping to the volatile Middle East, another with more lucrative musical obligations that keep him on the road and one who recently succumbed to the siren calls of Austin (Ray Weyandt, the only Dallasite for whom I will not buy a tank of gas if he likes Austin so much. In fact, I am thinking seriously of slashing his tires.)

Still, Dan and Kelsey are not anxious about the future roster, finding enough consistent contributions in bandmates Daniel T. Hall and Petra Kelley to build on their local momentum. It is a quietly growing popularity cultivated through an intimate approach to performing. Fox and the Bird are prone to float into audiences like the ghosts they invoke in song. When not wandering off stage, they busk city streets, dragging their mirthful brand of mobile, acoustic choir into the sidewalks and parking lots that are otherwise dormant.

Floating Feather is the admirable attempt to chase a sound that owes so much to nomadism. It does evoke a certain imminence, the image of a rabble of musicians crouched around a single microphone, close enough to rub shoulders and cheeks.

The eleven songs fairly represent the patchwork of five songwriters that composed them. Except for “Rome,” Wheeler Sparks’ enigmatic work is conspicuously absent, primarily because most of his songs belong to a future opus about his grandfather’s life. Ray Weyandt’s two contributions break in like gentle miracles. He is a wonder of a songwriter, always carrying off a little darkness on his back.

It is reassuring to know that Dan Bowman, like me, struggles with the titles people apply to his band’s music. The multi-instrumentalist with the duckbilled cap is often labeled “folk.” Personally, I think the word is about the least descriptive way to refer to something. It reminds me of a cranky Pete Seeger throwing a child’s tantrum and threatening to cut the wire that was making Bob Dylan loud and dirty. I don’t think Fox and the Bird can have truck with that kind of vaunted sanctimony.

What I think Fox and the Bird embody musically, as effectively on Floating Feather as they do in person, is humanism in the real sense, like Calvin or Pascal before them. It is a celebration of the human experience in all its palpable pleasure and want, especially the want. Fox and the Bird are people waiting, squirming for and with eternity.

The aesthetically obsessed are bound to take issue with what they imagine is a band affecting the personas of restless hoboes. And the chronically disdainful might dismiss Fox and the Bird as blindly cheerful. But they would be neither looking nor listening. What Fox and the Bird sing and play accords with the deepest strains of human worth and fulfillment. To capture that wholly is impossible. But their audacity to shuffle in that direction, with banjoes and trumpets and a sea roar of voices, is foolish to deride. - D Magazine

"Review: The Fox and the Bird, 'Floating Feather'"

By Preston Jones
Posted 5:29pm on Thursday, Jul. 28, 2011

Nominally folk yet wholly engaging, Dallas collective the Fox and the Bird has its roots in the sprawling Dallas Family Band cooperative, which has also birthed the Beaten Sea, Spooky Folk, lalagray and Jacob Metcalf.

Led by husband and wife Dan and Kelsey Bowman, whose arresting vocal harmonies are the sparkling thread uniting these 11 tracks, Floating Feather is a striking, dust-blown debut that roams freely among the neighboring pastures of American music, grazing a little in roots, nibbling a bit in country, and sampling what folk has to offer. Painstakingly recorded over a period of two years, the rustic, ethereal veneer of songs like Ghost or the slyly comic Women in the Kitchen belies the earthy, kinetic energy evident in the band’s musicianship (the benefits of cutting one’s teeth busking rather than building loops in GarageBand).

As with so many of the Fox and the Bird’s contemporaries, these works bloom most fully in concert, where the full-throated, multi-part harmonies can reach full roar and the intoxicating clatter behind them blows forth like a summer wind sweeping through the tall grain. The Fox and the Bird will celebrate the album's release Friday at Sons of Hermann Hall with support from Whiskey Folk Ramblers and the Beaten Sea. The Fox and the Bird also play Central Market tonight. -

"Fox & The Bird's Road to Tonight's Album Release Show at Sons of Hermann Hall"

For the past few weeks, the Family Band-ers in Dallas' Fox & The Bird have been on the road, taking part in their largest tour to date, all of which is meant to promote Floating Feather, the band's long-awaited debut release, which formally comes tonight with a celebratory performance at Sons of Hermann Hall.

Joining the band on tonight's bill are The Beaten Sea and Whiskey Folk Ramblers. Meaning? Tonight's show is going to be a rather noir-ish, backwards-looking good time, featuring three of the regions best roots-reveling acts.

Exactly a month ago today, you may recall, we introduced you to some of the material on Fox & The Bird's three-year-sin-the-making release, sharing a free download of the album's title track.

Since that post, the band's been on the road, touring the southwest and midwest, bringing their songs to audiences they'd never yet played before. And, from the looks and sounds of it, it was a successful venture.

Observer photographer Sara Kerens joined the band on the road, capturing video and photos from their tour. See her photo slideshow of the band's travels here. After the jump, enjoy a video of the band performing its song "No Man's Land" for a receptive crowd in a Madrid, New Mexico, restaurant. There, you'll also find a quick note from band member Jacob Metcalf, who was kind enough to share with us a few memories from the band's trip. Check it out.

Fox and the Bird Summer Tour Notes:

We are a blue-collar band from Dallas, traveling on our first Midwestern tour in support of our debut album, Floating Feather. No single town we are visiting has ever seen us live before. What follows are some of the trip's highlights.

In Amarillo, we were given a clarinet from a generous show-goer named Liz after being invited to play an impromptu set at a neighboring venue, The Golden Cantina. In Madrid, we performed before John Wayne Haynes, a modern-day cowboy who drove his horse from Michigan to New Mexico and lives without electricity in a teepee. In Santa Fe, we fired long-barreled guns and climbed onto the rooftop of the Alamo house.

In Arroyo Seco, we hiked down into a ravine and took a dip in the Rio Grande before performing at a hippie commune. In Taos, we ambushed a solar-powered radio station and Rick DeStefano was kind enough to air our in-studio performance. In Salida, we sang in the streets to drive folks to our show. In Grand Junction, a thunderstorm slowed our musical parade and we were caught outdoors under an awning until the deluge resigned. Showgoers attended our event at the historic Mesa Theater despite the inclement weather.

In Salt Lake City, we pumped several quarts of motor oil into an ailing engine and the van held steady. In Denver, we took part in a four-day festival and were featured in their local newspaper. In Wichita, we performed to a crowd seated in mahogany leather chairs in a cigar lounge. In Tulsa, we wore many hats, running sound and taking money at the door in one of the city's oldest bars. In Norman, we reunited with family.

Three thousand miles in a fifteen passenger van. The venture was a success.

We are celebrating our first tour and CD release Friday night at Sons of Hermann Hall with the Beaten Sea and The Whiskey Folk Ramblers. This is the first show where all 10 members of Fox and the Bird past and present will share the stage.

-- Jacob Metcalf of Fox and the Bird

Sounds like a it was a success -- and about as good a case as we've seen as to why local bands really should do all they can to try and tour. - Dallas Observer

"Five New Local Albums Make for a Welcome Summer Soundtrack"

Fox and the Bird

Floating Feather

Nominally folk yet wholly engaging, Dallas collective Fox and the Bird has its roots in the sprawling Dallas Family Band cooperative, which has also birthed the Beaten Sea, Spooky Folk, lalagray and Jacob Metcalf. Led by husband and wife Dan and Kelsey Bowman, whose arresting vocal harmonies are the thread uniting these 11 tracks, Floating Feather is a striking, dust-blown debut that roams freely among the neighboring pastures of American music, grazing a little in roots, nibbling a bit in country, sampling folk. Painstakingly recorded over a period of two years, the rustic, ethereal veneer of songs like Ghost or the slyly comic Women in the Kitchen belies the earthy, kinetic energy evident in the band's musicianship. These works bloom most fully in concert, where the full-throated, multipart harmonies can reach full roar and the intoxicating clatter behind them blows forth like a summer wind. -

"Fox and the Bird: Floating Feather, Self-Released"

Dallas' favorite collective of folk heroes, Fox & The Bird, left very little to chance before releasing their debut full-length album. They took their time. Thus, given that the band, in its various incarnations, has been performing around the region for a few years, the charming Floating Feather doesn't have the raw feel of a debut.

The solid-from-beginning-to-end album doesn't possess the sometimes clumsy sound of a debut either, thanks to some serious road-testing of the material. Loosely fitting under the vintage umbrella of neo-folk, this well-thought-out group of tunes boasts a variety that never seems cobbled together by force. Instead, a spirit of unity between the album's sonic traits and the group's comfort with the material shines powerfully.

Since few of these songs are new to those who have seen the band perform, it's another impressive feat that nothing here seems tired, even in the least. The ways in which trademark tunes such as "Hey, Sister" (complete with its coyote howl) and the trumpet-intensive "Rome" sound every bit as engaging on record as they do live says about as much about the overall quality of the band and their new album as anything. - Dallas Observer

"Folk Brigade Draws on Mountain Sounds"

Fox and the Bird released Floating Feather in July, but that didn’t stop the Dallas band from making its Saturday night gig at Dan’s Silverleaf a Denton CD release party.

Fox and the Bird — who describe themselves as a small folk choir — play Dan’s Silverleaf on Saturday night.

The band put out a series of live recordings in 2009, all recorded at an East Dallas house show venue called Annex House. Last year, the group put out a single, “Rome.”

Then came 2011.

“We wanted to sound like a group that got together to play music — you can hear a lot of imperfections, you can hear the floor creak, you can hear a train going by in the background,” said band member Daniel T. Hall, who coordinated the production of Floating Feather.

“We wanted the music to be played correctly,” accordion player Dan Bowman said. “We just wanted whatever happened in the room to be part of the record.”

Fox and the Bird started when a group of songwriters saw casual gatherings turn into picking and jam sessions. Bowman described the band as a small folk choir, where every musician plays enough instruments to fill the trunk of a compact car.

Floating Feather is a full-length, mostly acoustic album with 11 fleshed-out tracks. In terms of melody, things bounce along merrily, a la They Might Be Giants. Harmonies are church-choir pretty. Lyrics are reminiscent of the macabre and imaginative, of folk music by Welsh immigrants to Appalachia. “Hey Sister” is the most overtly country song, with a chorus of “aroos” filling in for the song’s coyotes.

Hall said the record reflects both the spontaneity and the two-year, practiced ease of the band’s sound.

“I think there’s a little bit of both,” he said. “When we sat down to play the album, there were some songs we’d been playing for two years. But our method of recording was ‘Let’s see what comes up.’ There were moments of spontaneity. If you play with a group of people long enough, you get an idea of who will do what, and you can take off and improvise here and there.”

While Denton folk luminaries Doug Burr and Sarah Jaffe write music that seems fraught with longing and despair, Fox and the Bird have an album of songs that are loaded lyrically with multiple meanings and some sadness (“Old Mother”), although the music itself is happy. Optimistic, even.

The Denton connection with the group is solid. Petra Kelly of Denton’s Spooky Folk plays violin for the band, and the musicians move in the same circles as local Americana luminaries. Bowman said Denton’s tireless Ryan Thomas Becker is counted among the band’s influences.

Sounds like: Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) and Neil Young wrote a musical about a 21st-century commune set in the Appalachians; or Spooky Folk spent a day entertaining hope. A narrative score tells a story all while generating standalone songs.

Details: Fox and the Bird’s show with Dust Congress and Spooky Folk starts at 9 p.m. Saturday at Dan’s Silverleaf, 103 Industrial St. Cover is $6. Show is for ages 18 and older.

By Sunday, Floating Feather will be available at Mad World Records and Recycled Books Records CDs on the Square.

On the Web:

—Lucinda Breeding

Fox and the Bird is:

• Dan Bowman — accordion, vocals

• Daniel T. Hall — drums, vocals

• Ray Weyandt — guitar, vocals

• Travis Lawrence — guitar and banjo, vocals

• Wheeler Sparks — guitar, vocals

• Petra Kelly — violin, vocals

• Kelsey Bowman — mandolin, vocals

• Mimo Morreale — upright bass, vocals

• Jacob Metcalf — ukulele, vocals - Denton Record-Chronicle


Darkest Hours (2014)

Wreck of the Fallible - Single (2013)

Floating Feather (2011)
Rome - Single (2010)
Fox and the Bird Live at Annex House (2009)



Fox and the Bird is a raucous folk-pop band hailing from Dallas, TX with gang vocals and layered harmonies. The band is a choral collective that's seen a rotating cast of 15 songwriters & members since they hit the scene in 2008, eventually releasing their 2011 debut album Floating Feather which features the best of their musical collective. In May of this year they release their Darkest Hours EP with a collection of violin-driven songs that tell the band's shared story. Fox and the Bird will announce EP release shows shortly and is planning a tour in July that takes them out to the UMS Festival in Denver.

Fox and the Bird draws its energy from gang vocals and layered harmonies for a communal folk music with resonance. The band continues to produce and self-release its albums, touring from time to time and always committed to music that is made on back porches, in living rooms and on the streets.