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Labor of Love: Dawes
The band Dawes was born under the hazy, golden sun of Southern California almost ten years ago, and they owe much of their early sound to the folk singer-songwriters and psychedelic, stoner cowboys that called the same hills and valleys home in the late ‘60s and 70s. But these ten years as a band have brought with them many changes, most importantly a seismic evolution from the nostalgic, rural spirit of their beginnings to a bold, new sonic identity that looks only forward, one that has brushed off all the dirt to reveal a sleek, progressive outfit hell-bent on blazing their own trail and leaving all others behind.
Passwords, the sixth album from the California four-piece, is a distinctly modern record, a product of its time that directly confronts times to come and addresses the social and political intricacies of a world in flux with acuity. It finds Dawes in fine form, with guitarist and singer Taylor Goldsmith, drummer Griffin Goldsmith, bassist Wylie Gelber, and keyboardist Lee Pardini all working in lock-step to craft deep, shifting textures with deftness and lyrics that possess a foresight honed over ten long years of looking.
How did making music become your life? How did you get your start?
I don’t quite remember the beginning of my relationship with music. Our father was a musician his whole life so it was always in our house since before I started remembering things. And then the obligatory bands throughout school. Then I met Blake Mills in high school and we started writing songs together. As we graduated high school we started developing a small local fan base home in LA as a band called Simon Dawes. We eventually got signed to the label record label Record Collection. The album we released didn’t amount to anything, but it set us off on the path of making our music our careers.
In these times it's an incredible challenge getting by making music, everyone at CME has found a happy home here to support our passion for music. How do you make it work? What are your hustles/gigs? How does it all come together?
When people have asked me in the past how I would recommend getting started, I really try to stress developing a local fan base first. It sounds simple enough, but I think a lot of younger bands and artists get hung up on landing some tour or even booking one themselves. Obviously touring is important, but if you can get to a place where you can get 300-400 people to a show of yours in your own city, eventually you’ll get the attention of the folks in control of the bigger opportunities.
Who were your major influences? What guides your playing style?
I’m always thinking about The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, the Replacements, Elvis Costello....the guys that embodied the spirit of rock and roll while still recognizing the sanctity of song.
As far as my playing goes, I just want it to be as beautiful or as expressive as I can make it. Sometimes being deemed a good guitar player get confused with how “impressed” the listener is. I don’t want to impress a listener. The same way I don’t want to “impress” someone I’m having a conversation with by using big words that I don’t necessarily understand. I just want my guitar playing to reflect my self. I want the idiosyncratic way I put together a sentence (in the way we all have our own idiosyncratic speaking voice) to be the same force behind what helps me put together a guitar phrase.
What's your rig? First guitar? Current? Pedals you can't live without?
Right now I’m playing a ‘64 Fender Deluxe (no reverb so I use the Fender spring reverb box) w a rotation of guitars....50’s parts Tele, 69 Gold Top, 59 ES-345 and a guitar built by our bassist Wylie Gelber he named the Radacaster. He also built a pedal out of old airplane parts modeled after the original Range Master that I use for my main boost. Also couldn’t live without my Boss VB2, Strymon El Capistan or my ammo can vibrato modeled after the old Fender Brownface amps built by my buddy Austen Hooks.
What does the band have coming up? Albums? Tours?
A big month of touring in Jan-Feb going to a lot of major markets we didn’t hit last year, including Chicago, so I’m sure we’ll be by the store. After that hopefully recording again soon. We’re admitted workaholics and don’t like being away from a stage or a studio for very long
January 23 /// Fort Collins, CO /// Washington’s
January 25 /// St. Louis, MO /// The Pageant
January 26 /// Oshkosh, WI /// The Howard
January 27 /// Iowa City, IA /// The Englert Theatre
January 29 /// Chicago, IL /// The Vic Theatre
January 30 /// Toronto, ON /// The Danforth Music Hall
February 1 /// Philadelphia, PA /// The Fillmore
February 2 /// Boston, MA /// Wang Theatre
February 4 /// Portsmouth NH /// The Music Hall
February 5 /// New York, NY /// Beacon Theatre
February 6 /// Portchester, NY /// The Capitol Theatre
February 8 /// Charlottesville, VA /// The Jefferson Theater
February 9 /// Nashville, TN /// Ryman Auditorium
February 10 /// Nashville, TN /// Ryman Auditorium
February 12 /// Athens, GA /// Georgia Theatre
February 14-16 /// Tampa, FL /// Cayamo Cruise 2019^
February 17 /// Clearwater, FL /// Capitol Theatre
February 19 /// St. Augustine, FL /// Backyard @ St. Augustine Amphitheatre
February 20 /// Charleston, SC /// Charleston Music Hall
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