Friday, May 09, 2008

The Fallen Stars are on the rise

Note: This story was originally published on on May 7, 2008.
For fans of the Fallen Stars, good things truly come to those who wait.
The Fallen Stars are celebrating the release of their latest studio collection, the 13-song "Where the Road Bends," and the bonus seven-song concert recording, "Vayo Con Queso," with two shows this weekend. The Fallen Stars perform at the Marlin Bar in Huntington Beach on Saturday, May 10, and then play at the Grand Ole Echo in Los Angeles on Sunday, May 11.

"We started recording the tracks in November of '06," said lead guitarist Gregg Braught. The Huntington Beach-based group also features singer-guitarist Bobbo Byrnes, singer-bassist Tracy Byrnes, drummer John Vowell and keyboardist-mandolin player Geoff Geib.
There were a number of reasons it took 18 months to complete "Where the Road Bends," including a process of recording with Rami Jaffee at Chicasa Studios in Malibu, and then more recently, with Shawn Lindell at Lindell Productions in Westminster.

"Without deadlines, nothing would ever get done," admitted singer-guitarist Bobbo Byrnes. "Thirty-five songs were tracked in the studio; a couple of them were recorded a couple of times."
Tracy Byrnes noted the band had a good reason for doing a sonic double-take: "One of the reasons why we rerecorded at the end was we were a better band."

Highlights on "Where the Road Bends" include the freewheeling alt-country rocker "St. George's Bank," heartland-flavored "One, Two, Three," the folk rock of "Raining in Hollywood" and traditional country-western gem "Diner Door."
"We recorded more songs than what landed on the CD," Vowell explained. "We're not in a hurry to be rushed into something."
The aforementioned "One, Two, Three" was among the songs written only a few weeks before the CD was sent into production.

"The last five (songs) we cut were kind of tough," Bobbo Byrnes said of favorite tracks left off "Where the Road Bends."
Added Geib: "But they are still a big part of our live set list."

Geib was recruited to join the band last year.
"In July or August '07, Geoff came in and almost immediately was in the recording studio doing something," Vowell recalled.
Another winning element in the Fallen Stars' sound is the effective way that husband-and-wife team of Bobbo and Tracy Byrnes handle lead vocal duties, as well as the adventurous way they blend those voices beautifully together on songs such as "House of Cards" and "APB."
"Combined vocals are really what we're going for," said Tracy Byrnes, adding that Braught also provides vocal harmonies on many of the new songs.
"I have so much fun singing with them," Braught said. "That adds a big element to our sound."

Another successful component of the Fallen Stars' live shows is the masterful presentation of select covers.
"We only play covers from people we like," Vowell said. Members noted that songs by the Clash, Bruce Springsteen, Gram Parsons and the Rolling Stones have made that grade.
"Vayo Con Queso" is a live recording of the Fallen Stars captured when the band played at the Coach House on Feb. 21 of this year. Tracks on that set include "Sioux City," "Outlaws & Angels" and "Vegas."
Anyone who purchases "Where the Road Bends" at the band's shows this weekend will get a free copy of "Vayo Con Queso."
Whether recording in the studio or performing live, the Fallen Stars are truly on the rise, as evidenced by the group taking top honors as best live acoustic band at the 2008 Orange County Music Awards held in March.
"It's all about what's best for the song," Tracy Byrnes said.
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