A grandmother who surrenders her last breath to impart wisdom meant for her granddaughter. A granddaughter named Cora enveloped in winter, darkness, and desperation. And a crow that carries the grandmother’s message in his throat. These are the characters that inhabit Dana Falconberry and Medicine Bow’s “Cora Cora”, a story song that she wrote while watching the crows’ warm breath meet the cold air outside her cabin window nestled in the mountains of northern Arkansas.
It’s growing warmer now, but the imagery captured inside the song takes us deep inside the belly of winter’s night. An old lady whispers to the crows, “Cora stately as an evergreen, watch those rains off to the south/brace yourself for the winter winds will come/to take the breath out of your mouth…you can run yourself the mountainside, and you can raise your gaze still higher/Cora, dear, wherever you lay your eyes down/you’ll see the smoke of my fire.” And so the years pass and Cora finds herself alone — save for the strangest winged creature who seems to be singing her name. When at last she gives in and listens to what her grandmother needed her to hear, her eyes are led upwards into the hills where she sees the smoke of a fire.
What begins with gloom ends in hope, and there isn’t a voice in existence better suited to tell this tale than Dana Falconberry’s solacing lilt. The instrumentation rises up around the gentle melody and shoulders her words along. If you’re as taken as I am by the magic contained in “Cora Cora”, then you’ll be delighted to know that Dana Falconberry and Music Bow’s new album, From The Forest Came The Fire, filled with her “most arresting work to date” is set for release a only week from today. Listen again and again and again to the premiere of “Cora Cora” above.