“Grungy rocker”, “blues infused”, “country with a whiskey roughness”, “punk too limiting”, “melting pot of American music” are just a few of the adjectives music critics use to describe The Falling Birds. Their musical range, creativity and instrumental skills defy easy categorization. They are consummate storytellers. They spin tales of joy and heartbreak, honed in the cauldron of life growing up in Albany, New York and the rural Mohawk River Valley observing first hand their inexorable economic and social decay.
Principal songwriter Stephen Artemis absorbed Albany’s punk scene and upstate farm culture which formed the foundations of his song writing. “When I lived in the country, radio reception was limited to three stations, country, classic rock and oldies. In order to connect to alternative material, I had to create it myself” he said.
It was during this fundamental coming of age when Stephen witnessed the insidious decline of New York’s northern Rust Belt. The experience profoundly impacted the subjects and characters that define his work. Years later building his musical career and reputation in New York City and keenly aware of the incalculable disparity coexisting in that remarkable city Stephen began incorporating these experiences into his songs.
In 2011 Stephen met band mate Dave Burton, drums, and the first incarnation of The Falling Birds was born. Nick Albury, bass, joined in 2013. Each had left home in search of a more fulfilling life, but found life even more challenging in the Big City. The aftershocks of America’s Great Recession were still in full bloom and working multiple jobs made concentrating on their musical style extraordinarily difficult. To compensate Stephen began to workshop his songs on New York’s streets and subway platforms earning the hard way performance experience and pocket change. He calculated that if he could entice New York’s commuter warriors for even a few minutes, he might just have a sound that would attract a larger audience.
The trio began writing songs that reflected their life stories and provided the inspiration to overcome the relentless grind of the City. The years of frustration and longing came to life in songs as emotional and chaotic as their lives. They learned the painful lesson that no meaningful art is produced without pain and the joys and disappointment life serves up. Instead of shying away, they embraced those experiences to create a sound uniquely appropriate to the times.
Soon their shows attracted a loyal and enthusiastic following. They described their performances as a musical conversation, a place where each instrument speaks in a distinct voice. Their songs range from melancholic – stories of loss and longing – as well as rowdy that exude a heavy blues riff.
The Falling Birds sound, as their name implies, is a fearless launch from the nest into a hopeful expectation of flight that is at once disturbing, compelling and ultimately optimistic.
In 2014 The Falling Birds released their first EP, “Native America”, a five song chronicle of their experiences and musical influences. “Native America” received significant favorable reviews from independent media which led to their 2015 follow up, “Till We All Fall Down”, which will be released this coming fall.