Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Dawes have emerged recently as one of the strongest roots-inspired rock bands in years, reminiscent of predecessors like My Morning Jacket and the Band. Their new album, Nothing Is Wrong, hits the streets on Tuesday, June 7th. Louisville Metro fans can celebrate with them at Iroquois Amphitheater, where they will perform with Bright Eyes. LEO recently caught up with Taylor Goldsmith:
LEO: I’ve gone to thousands of shows over the past 20 years, but you guys have set a new record for me by opening for not just one, but two, other non-local bands in the same week. Tonight (June 1st) you’re playing with Brett Dennen, and on Tuesday you’re playing with Bright Eyes. How did this happen?
Taylor Goldsmith: We were offered both tours without realizing that both Louisville dates were so close together. The Bright Eyes tour is only going for a week and the Brett Dennen dates bookend that, lasting for about 2 months. It just so happens that their routing ended up taking them both through Louisville within a week. So, it’s mainly just a happy accident.
LEO: Your new album, “Nothing Is Wrong,” sounds, to me, to be more of an early ’70s Laurel Canyon album, where your first, “North Hills,” had more of a ’60s Woodstock vibe. Am I right, or wrong, in your mind?
TG: We have a lot of influences and inspirations and make our records in whatever way seems most natural and fitting for the song. We weren’t particularly going for a 60’s Woodstock sound with our first record or a 70’s Laurel Canyon sound with our second, but we were definitely inspired by both of those genres during the making of both records, so that’s just how each came out, I guess. We’re happy that people draw connections to other music they like or are familiar with, but none of it is ever intentional on our part.
LEO: Is the success you’ve had, so far, been what you were expecting?
TG: We still live very normal lives and, despite whatever success might come our way (which we would be just fine with), we have every intention to continue to. I feel like in this style of music, the concept of celebrity isn’t very relevant. It seems to me like all these independent artists appeal on the basis that they’re regular people, and don’t inspire their fans to treat them as if they were larger than life, necessarily. We’re not a big band, so I’m just assuming right now, but that’s the impression I get.
LEO: You‘ve worked recently backing up Robbie Robertson, formerly of The Band. Do you see yourselves changing through the years as he has, from scruffy rockers to slick hair guys in fancy suits?
TG: Haha. We have no plans on how we’re gonna dress in the future. Whatever it is, I assume it’ll be organic. If our hair turns grey and falls out, or if our faces get all wrinkly, I bet we’ll go with it.
LEO: Do you have any associations with Louisville, or memories, or impressions?
TG: Our ‘Waterfront Wednesday’ show was a great Louisville experience. And each time we’ve visited your radio station there (91.9 FM, WFPK), we’ve been made to feel like Louisville likes us coming through, so I’m sure we’ll be back as often as we can be. Even twice within one week, I guess.
Dawes with Bright Eyes
Tuesday, June 7
1080 Amphitheater Road
at 8:12:00 PM
“Have you ever interviewed Jim James? I’m a fan.”
Questions like “Have you ever gone to the Kentucky Derby with Colonel Sanders and My Morning Jacket?” are expected from non-locals, but this time I’m being asked by Jeff Prystowsky, leader of a highly acclaimed, increasingly popular band, The Low Anthem.
Prystowsky spoke with LEO from the band’s van, in “Nowheresville,” near the border of New Mexico and Arizona. The up-and-coming folk-rock band has spent most of this year on the road, promoting their richly textured third album, Smart Flesh. The Providence, R.I., natives went from self-releasing their early albums to signing with Nonesuch Records, the NPR-favorite label of Jessica Lea Mayfield, The Magnetic Fields and the Carolina Chocolate Drops, among others. Their headlining tour brings them to Louisville Saturday, if for no other reason, says Prystowsky, than because “we’re bourbon drinkers, and that’s the mecca.”
“We’ve been out constantly since February. We did a month in Europe, then the East Coast as a headliner, we opened for Iron & Wine for 12 shows, then Jazz Fest, then back to the Northwest,” he says.
Do they enjoy their journeys? “Yeah, very much so. Like right now, I just love the empty landscape with the giant mountains looming in the distance. I find that very beautiful and peaceful and calming.”
Prystowsky doesn’t seem like the cliché of the road-warrior rocker. His interests also include history and baseball. The Orioles fan compares their shows to his favorite sport, almost effortlessly. “It’s kind of holy practice for me. Those are my favorite concerts, when the artist reaches the level a preacher achieves — that intensity. We can feel it on stage when it happens, and it doesn’t happen often. It’s like a batting average — if you can get probably one out of 10, it’s pretty good. (Bandmate) Ben just commented, six out of 10 is his goal.”
The inquisitive bandleader asks my thoughts on their Louisville venue. It’s their last headlining show before they go back out with Mumford & Sons. Many of their spring shows sold out, so I ask if people back home recognize them now on the street. He says sometimes, but “it’s kind of in a friendly way, not in a paparazzi way. It’s also good for discounts.”
The Low Anthem with Daniel Lefkowitz and the County Line
Saturday, June 4
Headliners Music Hall
1386 Lexington Road • 584-8088
$10; 9 p.m.
c. 2011 LEO Weekly
at 8:52:00 AM