I wasn't super impressed with the new Dawes album when I first heard it.
That's very different from not liking the new Dawes album, because I did. There's a couple of tracks on there that that I immediately worked into my regular line-up, especially the title track, "All Your Favorite Bands." I've been a fan of what American Songwriter called Dawes' "medium-paced folk-rock" since their 2011 release Nothing Is Wrong, and this steady-on July 2 release doesn't stray too far from that identity. This is a solid rock record from a solid rock band that has an established sound.
But I fell into the same trap I think I've fallen into with every Dawes album: I didn't think it was that great until I loved it. I think it's what makes these guys so good—there's a kind of earnest, workmanlike sincerity about their stuff, both musically and lyrically that sometimes disguises just how well-crafted it really is. In "All Your Favorite Bands," frontman Taylor Goldsmith sings without a trace of irony or pretension: "I hope your brother's El Camino runs forever//I hope the world sees the same person that you always were to me//And may all your favorite bands stay together."
A word about the sound of this album: Goldsmith said it best in a letter to the band's fans.
With this new record, all the lead vocals, guitar solos, simultaneous piano and organ and of course bass and drums were all done at the same time. And listening back we really felt like we were listening to the way we thought we sounded. And that’s all we could ever want. When you hear the Rolling Stones or the Grateful Dead start a song, even if you’ve never heard it before, you can recognize their idiosyncrasies and their personalities inherent to their band. To be able to recognize a Dawes song by a certain snare drum pattern or guitar lick or anything specific how we play together is something I feel like we’ve gotten closer to than ever with this new record.
They crushed it last night on Conan playing another track that I love from this record, "Things Happen":
Here's the rest of this week's playlist, which is kind of a mix of old and new things. I love the two Joy Williams tracks (Joy Williams of The Civil Wars). Both songs are heavy with inertia—even "Sweet Love of Mine," which is a lullaby to her newborn son. I've stuck a couple of Brandi Carlile songs on here—I just got around to listening to her March release, The Firewatcher's Daughter, and the opener really grabbed me.
But of course, none of it does it for me the way Emmylou does.