Dawes "All Your Favorite Bands"

Dawes blends songwriter aesthetics with an expanded rock sound.  

The secret to the success of Dawes isn’t rocket science. There isn’t any complex formula’s to figure out. Their songs are deceptively simple and direct. Production is stripped to a bare minimum with the band playing live to tape. Each instrument is easily differentiated from its neighbor; here’s the organ, over there the drum set with its tapped high-hat. Each guitar chord is discernable in the mix. Taylor Goldsmith’s breath occasionally puffs at the mic as he sings. It’s the kind of treatment Goldsmith’s lyrics need and deserve – honest, forthright, and without distraction.

Producer Dave Rawlings, best known for his work with Gillian Welch and Old Crow Medicine Show, keeps the focus on expert playing. He pulls out the band’s rock elements to offset the singer-songwriter weight of Goldsmith’s compositions. He wisely keeps Goldsmith’s vocals at the core, while giving the other band members the space to open up for controlled jams. That’s a challenge considering Taylor Goldsmith’s penchant for loquacious lyrics. He’s an earnest songwriter with a bent towards sentimentality, but he’s so good at capturing recognizable experiences you won’t mind a bit of nostalgic indulgence. It’s a bit like listening to a really smart friend who’s terrific at articulating your feelings.

There are a few new musical twists and turns – Gillian Welch’s vocals on “I Can’t Think About It Now” and a Grateful Dead like jam on “To Be Completely Honest. For the Dawes fan there aren’t a lot of surprises. This album seems to focus less on the break-through pop song and more on a maturing sound.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix Host)