California folk-rock actDawes
has had a whirlwind couple of years. Since abandoning the more hard-charging rock vibe they boasted before the departure of former co-songwriter Blake Mills, the SoCal act has gained steam, interestingly enough, by becoming more musically laid-back.
And there's been plenty of steam, too: The quartet, consisting of brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, Wylie Gelber and Tay Strathairn, has rode the wave of favorable publicity and positive response from their impassioned live performances -- to the point where their upcoming sophomore album, Nothing is Wrong (coming in June via ATO Records), can officially be deemed as "eagerly anticipated."
Of course, any band will tell you the only way to really spread the word about yourself is to get on the road and play anywhere you can for whomever you can. Dawes clearly agrees with that sentiment. Indeed, the band members are hardly strangers to the Metroplex. In the last year and a half, they've packed venues in seemingly every nook in the region -- from Lowest Greenville (The Cavern) to Fort Worth's Museum District (Casa Manana) and even Deep Ellum just a couple of months ago (Club Dada).
And this weekend, Dawes returns to the region, this time as the opening act for fellow Cali-dweller Brett Dennen when the two share a bill at the Granada Theater on Saturday. In advance of this performance, we spoke with frontman Taylor Goldsmith about the band's frequent visits to Dallas, the effects of the California sun on their music and the evolution of a band with buzz.
You guys have really hit Dallas hard since the release of 2009's North Hills. Is that because Dallas has been really kind to you, or are you just constantly circling the country between albums?
It wasn't intentional. As we were making our rounds of as many cities as possible, Dallas definitely seemed to respond more strongly than other cities thanks to radio stations and the really great people that have come to our shows throughout our stops there. When that happened, Dallas definitely became a spot we are always more excited to play in. But it hasn't really altered any touring routes. That's just 'cause it's always on the route without us having to change anything.
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North Hills had a loose, laid-back vibe that many have identified as stemming from your Southern California roots. How influential were those rays of sunshine on you as you recorded the album?
At first, we weren't really aware of California's music history relevance. We knew what music we liked but not who was from where. As we started to look more into these artists, we started finding out that a lot of the stuff we were most drawn to was made in California. I think there's something that permeates in the music from here organically, like it would with any musical community. We don't shoot for any sort of "California sound," or any sound in particular, but we're proud when people want to associate us with that.
North Hills has been out for a while, and the band has experienced significant fanbase growth because of it. What's that whole rise been like?
We've been reminding ourselves daily how grateful we are to have gotten any attention for the music we make. All of the people we admire have extensive catalogs, so what's most exciting about people responding well to the band is allowing us to continue making as many records as we can. We don't need world stardom for something like that -- just modest yet sustaining support from fans of the band. And that's what we've gotten and we really appreciate it.
You've also recently toured with Middle Brother, your collaborative project with Deer Tick's John J. McCauley III and Delta Spirit's Matt Vasquez. What has been the biggest lesson from that experience that you will take with you into future Dawes projects?
That the longer you can work and stay in people's peripherals, the more likely folks might be to acknowledge you and know that you're there. From North Hills we quickly went into Middle Brother, and now in June we're gonna be releasing our next Dawes album, Nothing Is Wrong. So, hopefully, us finding ways to constantly work, but always with a different product, will help our band play to more people and continue making music.