Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dawes: Stories Don’t End

Reviving the Southern California 
country rock sound of the ‘70s

Dawes with Friends*
     Stories Don’t End, the third studio album by the L.A. band Dawes, lives up to its title.  The story that the band continues started in the late ‘60s – early ‘70s with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and they’ve been labeled as proponents of the “Laurel Canyon” sound.  Actually, to me, they utilize an instrumentation and arrangement that sounds more like the
early Eagles, while they were still relaxed and idealistic, and lead singer Taylor Goldsmith displays the same earnestness and simplicity in his phrasing as the young Jackson Browne.  They played a concert with Browne at Occupy Wall Street in 2011, which makes complete sense.  

L.A. Band Dawes**
     Though they began as a post-punk outfit, they are completely at ease in their identity artistically.  Their sound is completely mature and that confidence is evidenced by the tightness of Wiley Gelber on bass and Griffin Goldsmith on drums in counterpoint with the looseness of Tay Straithairn on keyboards.  One way to know they’re serious is that they print their lyrics, a practice that has been dormant for a few years.  Some of their songs are character based like the airline passenger in “From A Window Seat” regarding the other passengers and drowsily creating a narrative about captains and explorers or the grandfather in “Bear Witness” who talks about his granddaughter and his neighborhood, but is always unconsciously referring to his late wife.  Taylor Goldsmith
Taylor Goldsmith
wrote most of the songs except for “Hey Lover,” which is by Blake Mills and is a wilder, come-on partier of a tune.

     I first heard about Dawes from Ben, who saw them live in a half-filled venue.  Dawes had the audience on its feet and kept playing beyond the length of their set, saying they loved Cincinnati.  On the basis of this album, Dawes is definitely worth checking out when they play Southgate House Revival on June 14.

*Photo by Shane Peters
**Photo by Matt Jacoby

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