An Evening With Dawes
Sat, March 4, 2017
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pmVariety Playhouse
$28 Advance, $29 Day of Show
This event is all ageshttp://www.variety-playhouse.com/event/1360935/
special rock group helped define who you were, expressing the joy and passion the foursome put into
"Your favorite band can identify you, express how you see yourself," explains Goldsmith, who co-wrote
the song with Jonny Fritz and is the sole author of the album's other eight tracks. "They enable you to
articulate your feelings through the way they play their instruments and the lyrics."
On All Your Favorite Bands, Dawes manage to transcend their well-documented Southern California influences to establish their own sound and themes, which range from the glass half full optimism of the
first single, "Things Happen" and the minor-chord tension of "I Can't Think About It Now" (featuring
background vocals from Gillian Welch and the McCrary Sisters) to the soulful gospel of "Waiting for Your Call," the rocking tongue-in-cheek lyrics of "Right On Time" and the epic, Dylan-esque set piece, "Now
That It's Too Late, Maria."
Produced by David Rawlings (Dave Rawlings Machine, Gillian Welch, Robyn Hitchcock, Old Crow
Medicine Show, Willie Watson) at Woodland Sound Studios in Nashville, Dawes recorded these new
songs after they had already been road-tested in front of live audiences in intimate venues from
Sonoma to Santa Barbara, with Rawlings in tow. The producer even played guitar solos on two of the
tracks (including that jangling noir Epiphone acoustic on "Somewhere Along the Way"), with Richard
Bennett on acoustic guitar and Paul Franklin on pedal steel, also contributing.
"We played and recorded the songs as a band, with very few overdubs," explains Taylor. "It was a real
joy to work with Dave, who is such an incredible musician with a deep understanding of what goes into a
song. We found ourselves immediately speaking a language we both understood."
Rawlings originally jammed with the band when they were Simon Dawes in their North Hills, CA, rehearsal space around seven years ago, then joined the group on one memorable occasion at the tiny
Crepe Place in Santa Cruz for a raucous encore after one of his own shows down the street. Dave threw his hat in the ring to produce them, mutually agreeing on the goal of making their recordings sound more like they do live.
"I was always a big supporter of the way they went about things, and how hard they worked," said
Rawlings. "I was also impressed with their growth as musicians."
The pairing of Dawes with Rawlings couldn't have been a more perfect match of band and producer.
"Playing these songs with them in a live setting in front of an audience before we ever set foot in the
studio was a lot of fun," enthused Rawlings. "I was really pleased to see the new material not just
holding its own with the older stuff, but in some cases sound even better and fresher."
Fresh from his game-changing experience working on the New Basement Tapes with producer T Bone
Burnett and bandmates Marcus Mumford, Elvis Costello, Jim James, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor took the
spontaneity and organic interaction of those sessions – along with a newfound self-confidence – into recording the new album.
"We didn't get super-precious about it," he said. "The rest of the band were able to react and respond in the moment, so even during the guitar solos, you can hear everyone else expressing themselves as
The first single, "Things Happen," is accompanied by a video that expresses Dawes' joie de vivre, a bittersweet tale of a Beatles busker (played by their actor friend Nate Michaux) who works Hollywood
Blvd., where he meets fellow street performers Charlie Chaplin (Taylor), Elvis Presley (Gelber) and Marilyn Monroe (Strathairn in drag).
"In a literal way, I'm singing to a friend, but I'm also giving myself a pep talk," said Taylor. "Things might
be bad, but the only thing you can do is shift your perspective to deal with it. Hoping it will go away by itself is a little unreasonable."
There are also glimpses of past relationships in "Somewhere Along the Way" and "Waiting for Your Call,"
while "I Can't Think About It Now" offers a disquieting view of how repressing your problems ends up
making things worse, and "Right on Time" describes the serendipity that makes up a long-lasting
romance, posing a dichotomy between the dramatic music and the blatantly over-the-top lyrics. The
sprawling, nine-minute-plus "Now That It's Too Late Maria" was the first song the band recorded in the
studio, and set the template for the album's loose-limbed, yet deliberate approach.
"Griffin played a relaxed, mid-tempo beat and I just started singing it that way," recalls Taylor. "Dave
just told us not to think about what we were doing, just do it, and that's what we did. It was a very
special moment for us as a band. It really set the mood and made us confident and comfortable in our
own skin, helped us embrace ourselves as a band. We realized nobody could do what the four of us do
Making the new album helped Dawes realize just how special – and unique — they were as a unit. It's a
worthy addition – and a noticeable advance – on their three previous albums, 2009's debut North Hills,
2011's Nothing Is Wrong and 2013's Stories Don't End.
"They are a tremendously talented group of guys focused solely on the music as part of their lives," offered Rawlings. "I remember sitting in the control room with Taylor and Griff as they went through
their iPods and pulled out pieces of songs, swapping ideas back and forth over a great breadth of different styles from all different eras. There's a good level of passion and friction, and there was a
healthy give-and-take, of questioning things, then coming to an informed decision in the studio. I certainly learned a great deal working on this album."
Taylor suggested the energy of All Your Favorite Bands matches that of their very first album, though
this time the spontaneity was part of a concerted plan rather than the necessity of budgetary
"There is so much joy in these songs, they make me smile when I hear them," he concluded. "We woke
up every day looking forward to the fact we would be playing together in the studio. That's all we ever
care about doing."
All Your Favorite Bands is the kind of album that could well make Dawes your favorite band.
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