Anatomy of a Song: Joey Burns of Calexico on “Falling From the Sky”

Edge of the Sun out now via ANTI-

Apr 22, 2015 By Joey Burns Web Exclusive
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A song is a chance overlapping of countless variables in an artist's life. Anatomy of a Song is a place where those variables can be dissected and examined. In this edition, Joey Burns of Calexico discusses the track "Falling From the Sky" from their new album, Edge of the Sun, which was released last week on ANTI-. The Tucson-based band also features John Convertino. Collaborators on the album, which was recorded in Mexico City, include Sam Beam (Iron & Wine), Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses), Nick Urata (Devotchka), Carla Morrison, Gaby Moreno, Amparo Sanchez, multi-instrumentalists from the Greek band Takim, and Neko Case.

"Falling From the Sky" was initially penned when landing in New Zealand after a long flight over the Pacific Ocean and missing my wife and twin daughters back home. The song talks about inspiration and how the simple things in life-whether it be strumming on an old guitar or looking up at a starry sky-can guide us through hard times dealing with sadness and loneliness. I had been reading a book titled The House in the Night written by Susan Marie Swanson and illustrated by Beth Krommes to my 3-year-old twin daughters before I left on tour and the phrasing in the book influenced the way the lines in the chorus are connected. I suppose in some way I was writing a song for my daughters perhaps in the future when they are older and I am no longer here. I want them to know that it's okay to be alone sometimes and that there is comfort in the world and universe around us. I wanted to write a song that would touch on these themes and lift their hearts as well.

The basic tracks of acoustic guitar, drums, and keyboards were recorded in the beautiful neighborhood of Coyoacán south of Mexico City, which captured an energy and enthusiasm that reminded us of that feel when playing live onstage. More overdubs were added in Tucson with electric bass, tons of vintage mellotron strings, Pocket Piano by Critter and Guitari, punchy trumpet lines, orchestral bells, percussion, and electric guitars. Paul Niehaus sent some stellar pedal steel tracks from his home in Nashville, which makes this track swing. While putting the final touches on at WaveLab Studio our friend Joe Novelli suggested we invite Ben Bridwell from Band of Horses to sing on the song. (Thanks Joe!!) The next day or so I received an email from Ben, who is one of the most down to earth people and was up for singing backup harmonies. I was blown away when I first listened back to his vocals sent from his home in South Carolina, which helped the chorus and bridge sections soar to even new heights. All in all this song really captures that positive spirit of collaboration and underlines the importance of being there for each other in good times and bad. 

 

 

Calexico North American tour:

5/30 -- Chicago, IL -- Lincoln Hall (SOLD OUT)

5/31 -- Chicago, IL -- Lincoln Hall

6/2 -- Toronto, ON -- The Opera House

6/3 -- Montreal, QC -- Corona Theater

6/4 -- Boston, MA -- The Sinclair (SOLD OUT)

6/5 -- Washington, DC -- 9:30 Club

6/6 -- Philadelphia, PA -- Union Transfer

6/7 -- New York, NY -- Bowery Ballroom

6/8 -- New York, NY -- Bowery Ballroom

7/7 -- Los Angeles, CA -- The Regent Theatre

7/9 -- Napa, CA -- City Winery

7/8 -- San Francisco, CA -- The Fillmore

7/10 -- Troutdale, OR -- Edgefield Amphitheater (SOLD OUT)*

7/11 -- Troutdale, OR -- Edgefield Amphitheater*

7/12 -- Vancouver, BC -- Vogue Theatre

7/14 -- Jacksonville, OR -- Britt Pavilion*

7/15 -- Boise, ID -- Idaho Botanical Garden Outlaw*

7/16 -- Redmond, WA -- Marymoore Ampitheater*

7/24 -- Newport, RI -- Newport Folk Festival

*w/ The Decemberists

 

www.casadecalexico.com

 

 



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