Dawes: Nothing Is Wrong

Dawes
Nothing Is Wrong

5 Sep 2011
Loose Music

 “like early Jackson Browne or Jimmy Webb, albeit with a more knowing, rootsy swagger” AMERICANA ALBUM OF THE MONTH – Uncut

“Dawes’ sound is redolent of faded denim, scuffed cowboy boots and hours spent sharing seats on a tour bus” ALBUM OF THE WEEK – The Independent

As with North Hills, Dawes opted to record Nothing Is Wrong live to 2″ analog tape. Far from just an exercise in nostalgic authenticity, the band sees the more traditional technique as a way of focusing their energies and affirming their dedication to the creative process.

“If you’re writing on a typewriter,” Goldsmith says, “you have to commit to whatever you’re writing. Typewriters don’t make it easy for you to go back and rethink things. Same thing with recording analog. We don’t do it because that’s what the people we admire did. We do it because it demands something out of us. It doesn’t allow us to show up lazy or not on our game. We cut every track knowing that this stuff isn’t easy to edit.”

Nothing Is Wrong captures both Dawes’ studio and stage approaches, matching the loose extemporaneity and crunchy dynamism of the band’s live sets with finely honed arrangements and deft musicianship. The album evinces the band’s self-assured strength right from the start by bursting off the blocks with the impossibly infectious “Time Spent In Los Angeles.” Throughout the record, Goldsmith’s lyrics evoke a powerful feeling of constant movement and endless fleeting moments. Songs like “The Way You Laugh” or the choogling “If I Wanted Someone” are wistful and melancholic, while the ruminative, piano-driven closing track “Little Bit Of Everything” (featuring pedal steel guitarist Ben Peeler) is peopled with indelible characters encountered on his travels.

Along with critical approbation and an ever-growing fan following, Dawes has earned admiration from many of their greatest heroes. Benmont Tench of The Heartbreakers joined the band on organ on both North Hills and Nothing Is Wrong, while the new album’s “Fire Away” sees guest vocals from Jackson Browne, who has since invited the band to both support and back him on a European tour. In addition, after Goldsmith contributed vocals to Robbie Robertson‘s star-studded new How To Become Clairvoyant, the legendary guitarist/songwriter asked Dawes to serve as his backing combo for a number of promotional performances including BBC’s Later with Jools Holland, sensing in them the character of a true band, a tight knit unit who know how to work together and instinctively play off each other’s individual gifts.

“It’s hard to accept and believe,” Goldsmith says. “It doesn’t seem like it should possibly happen. Experiences like these are why we do it. Before playing in front of huge audiences and before selling a lot of records, before all those things that people are looking for when they decide to play music, for me, sharing these experiences with the people I grew up listening to, getting their acknowledgement or respect, that’s right at the top, the number one reason and the most rewarding thing that could happen.”

While Nothing Is Wrong marks a new milestone on this remarkable band’s musical journey, it remains but a single step on all involved see as a long-term trip. For Dawes, the aim is always about turning it up and taking their music even further.

“Our attitude is always, what can we do to take it to the next place?” Goldsmith says. “To share our music with more people, make better music, and be happier people through our music.”

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