Dawes "Stories Don't End

 

Dawes takes their southern California rock sound to Asheville N.C. for a change of pace.

Google the band Dawes and read the reviews. Count how many time Laurel Canyon, CCN, and Jackson Browne are mentioned.  There is a reason for this. Taylor Goldsmith writes songs that sound as if they are modeled on hits of the 1970s, particularly the Southern California produced records. Of course band members seem to get touchy about being called a vintage band, but when your lead singer sounds like he’s channeling Jackson Browne, your harmonies sound like America, your lyrics mirror the earnest honesty of Graham Nash, and your music has the easy gait of a James Taylor tune, comparisons will happen.

 To be fair, there are tracks on the album that sound eerie similar to popular songs. “Just Beneath the Surface” employs a riff that brings to mind “Blue Bayou,” and the lead single, “From a Window Seat” sounds eerily like a certain ‘70s hit. However, the band did make a change in course for the recording of their third album. Stories Don’t End was recorded, not in L.A. but in Ashville, North Carolina, home of The Avett Brothers. They’ve formed their own record label, and brought in Jacquire King, best known for his work with Tom Waits and The Punch Brothers,  to help produce. Despite these changes the band sound only occasionally hedges away from the songs on earlier Dawes albums.

 As a writer Taylor Goldsmith is a sensitive soul who balances between wry perception and nostalgic moments. For Stories Don’t End he focuses on familial and romantic relationships, ones that work and some that fail. “Just My Luck” finds the protagonist scratching through the ruins of a relationship after running into his ex at a party.  “Bear Witness” finds a widower adrift in his observations of everyday life, a sad wisdom. “From a Window” offers jaded observations of the city of angels, but not nearly as cynical as Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A..  Goldsmith is deft at capturing the small details of life, a reason why fans of Dawes feel a close tie with the band, that and the easy way the music drifts down over you.

 Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix)