Dawes Live In Studio

DawesDawes is an American folk rock band from Los Angeles, California made up of brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith (respectively on guitar and drums), along with bassist Wylie Gelber, and keyboardist Tay Stratharin. The band was formed in 2009 when Blake Mills departed the original band, Simon Dawes, and Taylor and Gelber decided to take the band in a folkier direction.

Their new record, Stories Don’t End, is set to release April 9th this year following the release of the single “From A Window Seat.” Unlike Dawes’ previous albums that were each recorded in California, Stories Don’t End was recorded entirely in Asheville, North Carolina where they were able to separate from all distractions and really work on producing something genuine. “[Stories Don’t End] is something that you might not hear on the radio or you might not hear in today’s contemporary music climate – so we were excited to put our strangest foot forward with this album,” Taylor says.

In studio, Dawes opted for simplicity as Taylor sang and played guitar while Griffin and Startharin sang backup vocals. They began with the delicately progressive single, “From A Window Seat,” from the new album. Right from the beginning, Dawes’ effortless harmonizing is highlighted. Taylor doesn’t try to be glamourous or catchy with his lyrics, he’s just telling a story, and doing so beautifully. He says, “[From A Window Seat is] definitely the most esoteric song on the record. There aren’t a lot of lyrics that repeat and the groove is different than anything else we’ve ever done.”

A kind of maturity and wisdom really resonates with Dawes’ album’s new sound. With Simon Dawes, Taylor explains, “we were younger, we were caught up in so many different styles of music … we were just learning everything all at once and Simon Dawes sounds like that. Whereas with Dawes,” he says, “I feel like we sound a littler clearer as to who we are as musicians.”

Dawes finished with “Just Beneath The Surface,” the first song off of Stories Don’t End. The band’s natural chemistry was again highlighted on this track. Griffin sung high and Startharin fell low to harmonize with Taylor, adding an unexpected fullness to a song with only three voices and a guitar. The song discusses the common experience of people watching and being watched by other people; Taylor hopes to convey that “we’re all kind of in the same seat” in these situations large and small.

“[Our influences] are always changing but when we do have an influence it kind of sticks with us forever,” Taylor says. He is the band’s main songwriter and has cited Bonnie Prince Billy, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen as some of his great lyrical and musical influences. “On this new record, we started listening to Willie Nelson and certain Joni Mitchell records that we weren’t familiar with – so those became big influences,” he adds.

“Nothing’s going to shake our pride and confidence in the record,” says Taylor – and it certainly shouldn’t. In months to come, Dawes looks forward to a month long summer tour with their most legendary influence, Mr. Bob Dylan himself! They are booked to play festivals across the country with similarly upswinging talents like Alabama Shakes and the Avett Brothers.

By Maggie Ambrose
Photo by Alex Sugg

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