Ashley Falgout sings in improvisational hip-hop band CoLab, and when she met Dead Flowers frontman Corey Howe, it was her only experience performing with a band. The two met through Evan Johnson, the bassist for both CoLab and Dead Flowers, and via Howe's former gig as a bartender at the Double Wide.
Now, Howe is taking his first turn as a producer with Falgout. He enlisted Johnson, cellist Lauren Berry and fellow Dead Flowers members Vince Tuley (guitar) and James Brock (drums) to back the singer on her debut album, released at the end of last year.
Falgoo comprises five tracks of dirty blues and gospel. The singer's voice conveys deep pain at times, joy at others, and mixed with her backing band, it’s a unique, fiery and timeless sound.
“She’ll never admit it, but Ashley’s voice stands out,” Howe says. “She can do harmonies and background vocals all day long, but she has such a big, rich voice.”
Once they decided to work together, Falgout played Howe some of the tracks she had written.
“Before [CoLab], it was trying to figure out how to play a few chords and maybe write a song,” Falgout, an Arlington native, says. “Over the years, it’s been write a little more and a little more.”
They met every Monday to work on material at Dead Flowers’ practice space.
“We really dug into the songs and picked them apart,” Howe says. “You know, found what we liked and didn’t like, and wrote stuff together.”
Falgout says the songs are true to her original vision.
“They did a really good job of keeping the same feeling, but they transformed them into everything I don’t particularly know how to make happen," she says. "It evolved them.”
Howe wanted the EP to sound like “Adele backed by Lucero.” It was recorded to analog tape at Ferralog Recording Studios in Deep Ellum, where Dead Flowers recorded their latest album, Let Me Be.
Howe pushed for what he calls “anti-production.” Rather than filling up every available fader on the mixing board with overdubs, he kept the basics in without much more.
“I wanted it to be quiet where I wanted it to be quiet and loud where I wanted it to be loud,” Howe says.
Falgout played a couple of shows in November. Between their jobs and other musical commitments, it can be hard to get all of the band members together, but there are plans for more shows — and potentially another release — in 2018.
“I told her, get ’em written, get the ideas there, and let’s get back into it,” Howe says.