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Nashville, TN – “This album is about losing your balance, and landing without breaking yourself or breaking your spirit,” says Maya de Vitry of her second album, How To Break A Fall; a collection of songs alive with de Vitry’s tenacity and perseverance—living breathing stories here to help others on their journey as they did de Vitry with hers. “The stories on this record are also about how to get on your feet, how to move, and how to keep trusting yourself to take another step.” For de Vitry, taking another step included following up her critically-acclaimed solo debut, Adaptations; her first after the 2018 disbanding of her longtime group, The Stray Birds. Produced and mixed by Dan Knobler at Goosehead Palace in Nashville, TN, the creation of How To Break A Fall was just as much about trust as the content of the songs themselves. With the studio band—Courtney Hartman, Ben Tanner, Ethan Jodziewicz, and Jason Burger—learning songs just days before recording began, de Vitry and Knobler were confident their spirit of collaboration would carry the music. “We had two days of rehearsal before we started tracking the record, so I could stand in front of the band and share each song in real-time,” says de Vitry. “The musicians were ready with their instincts, without any preconceived lines. We were responding to each song in each moment, together.” Today, Folk Alley premiered the first taste of How To Break A Fall, debuting the album’s first track and single, “Better and Better.” How To Break A Fall can be pre-ordered here.

How To Break A Fall’s theme of intimate instrument tones and song-nurturing arrangements continues into “Bread For The Circus,” with dry drums and Wurlitzer electric piano driving home an all too close-to-home analogy about losing one’s sense of self or sense of power. “The circus represents a wild freedom or spectacle that is supposed to feel freeing, but behind the scenes, in the darkness, when no one else is watching, there is a feeling of being trapped, going through the motions, a loss of control, and a longing to run away from the circus,” explains de Vitry. “The bread is whatever we do to survive on the interior, in that context. We may even be doing something we love to do, but something is still not right.”

“Magazine” similarly utilizes a driving, upbeat production and lilting melody to touch on an ever-present issue in today’s society. “There’s a little girl I babysit, and she was puffing her belly out as far as it would go. She was showing it off, laughing, to me, and her little sister. I thought, well, it’s not too long until she’s gonna have a whole lot of people telling her to do different things with her body,” remembers de Vitry. “It’s going to be a long time until she has the confidence, joy, freedom, exuberance, and delight in her own body that she had in that moment. And so this song is a surreal journey of a woman literally taking back her body as her own.”

How To Break A Fall continues with prime examples, one after the next, of de Vitry’s uncanny sense of taking on-the-nose subjects and placing them instead on the hearts or the minds of listeners. The album closes with “Joy,” a song that de Vitry calls “a prayer and dedication to anyone who is healing from a place that feels anything less than whole.”

“The close of this album is not necessarily any place of resolution. There’s still motion, there’s still growing to do, and healing to do, and this song is a hand reaching out to anyone else who is still deep, deep underwater,” de Vitry says. “When we’re in the thick of brokenness, or healing, it can be so difficult to perceive that we are still moving closer and closer to knowing joy again. But we are often moving forward, somehow.”

Catch Maya de Vitry on tour:

Feb 28 – Anchorage, AK – Jitters Where Coffee Is An Art (co-bill w/ Anna Tivel)
Feb 29 – Anchorage, AK – Elvera Voth Hall (co-bill w/ Anna Tivel)
March 1 – Palmer, AK – Vagabond Blues (co-bill w/ Anna Tivel)
March 15 – Nashville, TN – The Basement (Courtney Hartman opens)
March 26 – Cambridge, MA – Club Passim (“songs with strings” event)
April 3 – Burlington, VT – Radio Bean
April 4 – Epsom, NH – Blasty Bough Brewing Company
May 6 – Lancaster, PA – Zoetropolis (Anthony da Costa opens)
May 8 – Marblehead, MA – Me & Thee Coffeehouse (co-bill w/ End of America)
May 10 – Exeter, NH – The Word Barn (co-bill w/ Anna Tivel)
May 14 – Seattle, WA – Nectar Lounge (supporting Della Mae)
May 15 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios (supporting Della Mae)
May 16 – Port Townsend, WA – Rainshadow Recording
May 17 – Victoria, BC – Victoria Listening Room

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