Acrobatic Singing and Musical Magic

Mother Twilight (Earthlight)
Faun Fables

By David Lilly

In a world where artistic merit and creativity are more important than commercial success, Dawn McCarthy and Nils Frykdahl would be household names. Collectively (Nils also plays in Sleepytime Gorilla Museum) known as Faun Fables, this duo plays enchanting songs that have magical lives all their own. Instrumentation is minimal. However, no sound is wasted and the result, when paired with McCarthy's lead vocals, is an extremely charming hour of eccentric acoustic music.

Fittingly, the first step into their world is entitled "Begin." It is one of those love-it-or-hate-it songs, as it has a discordant guitar bouncing through it. Once you get past that one, though, you're in the shadows and rainbows for the remainder of the hour. Next is "Sleepwalker," which is probably the most accessible song on the disc (which doesn't mean it is accessible, though it is catchy). One of the highlights of "Sleepwalker" is something that you don't hear very often. McCarthy makes a short series of vocal noises that sound like a cross between Syd Barrett's "cuckoo" or the psychedelic hiccup sound on "Flaming" from Pink Floyd's first album and a similar noise from the "Punch and Judy" show in one of the Marx Brothers' films. I won't bet that McCarthy planned it that way, but that's what it sounds like to me and I love it. "Beautiful Blade" is host to a wild breeze of amazing vocal harmonies that remind me of some of the more unusual harmonies on Queen albums.

Without giving away each song, let me summarize by saying that both Dawn and Nils are multi-instrumentalists (McCarthy is from a family of artists and musicians) and singers. Frykdahl sings harmonies and backs up his partner on various instruments, which, in the process, makes some great and extremely complementary music for McCarthy's captivating voice to dance around.

This music suggests a forest of shadows. Sometimes the shadows peek out at you shyly from behind trees or bushes. Other times they dance gleefully. They're always beckoning for us to come and play.

Music samples and info await you at and you can drop Dawn a line at