Dawes: Nothing is Wrong

Continuing with the trend from the last post, I’m going to have a proper listen to another band that was at the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover that I attended. Dawes came on right before Mumford and Sons and made quite a splash. I had unfortunately not looked into the bands before the Stopover, so I was unfamiliar with them but they made such an impact on me. They put on such a great show and I was instantly floored. We’re going to take a listen to Nothing is Wrong, the 2011 album from this fantastic band.

Time Spent in Los Angeles kicks the disc off right. Dawes performed this one live and it’s such a great mid-tempo rock song that its hard to not sway along. I wish I knew the lyrics when I saw them so I could’ve sang along. My friend and I heard this track at a restaurant the other day and it was perfect afternoon dinner and drinks music.

If I Wanted Someone was probably my favorite track when I saw the band live and remains as such on the album. This track has a blues-inspired feeling mixed with something that’s vaguely reminiscent of the Eagles. I want you to make the days move easy.

How Far We’ve Come is an exceptional number that kicks it up a few notches. The vocals are spot on, and then as you think it can’t get any better near the end of the song, they punch you in the gut with some keyboards and tambourines and make it even better. When they performed this song live, they did a great call and response with the audience even though most people didn’t know their lyrics. They worked with the crowd to get them engaged and it showed so much care and joy.

Million Dollar Bill is a beautiful, slow song that shows a different side of Dawes. The lyrics are particularly notable in this song, seeming to go through the motions of a bad departure in a relationship and wishing there were ways to stay around and noticeable. When it hits me that she’s gone, I think I’ll be a movie star – play the finest men the world has ever seen, so when these lovers that she’s found show her ways they learn to talk to her behind each perfect word there’ll be a little bit of me.

The album wraps up with a song introduced with fine piano playing. I feel A Little Bit of Everything almost brings us right around to the beginning of the album, striking similar notes to Time Spent in Los Angeles. Dawes take storytelling to a new level with this album and their gorgeous harmony. This feels like something that reflects on a period – life, an experience, a moment. This song shows emotion that is impossible to fake and comes across with such musical ability and beauty. Have you figured out yet what it is you want?

I knew this band had a lot of talent – they wouldn’t have been chosen for the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover if they didn’t have raw talent – but this album really pushed me over the edge. It’s not traditional rock music that would be your first thought if you heard ‘rock,’ but I have no idea how else to classify it. It’s as though Bruce Springsteen was thrown on a boomerang into the future and caught a country act and an alternative rock act on the way back and were mashed together like a potato cake through space. It’s definitely something to check out if you need to sit back and have a beer. I’m so glad I was introduced to this band because I know this will go into my rounds on a regular basis.

 

Key Tracks
If I Wanted Someone (track 2)
How Far We’ve Come (track 6)
A Little Bit of Everything (track 11)

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