Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong

January 01, 1970

(ATO)

 

www.atorecords.com

 

Formed from the
ashes of Simon Dawes (named after the band leader’s grandfather), this Southern
California quartet certainly made the independent (and beyond) musical
community stand up and take notice after releasing their magnificent debut, North Hills, in late 2009 to heaps of
critical praise (a slow burner, really, as it slowly took off but once the
reviews began rolling it was like a landslide). The band then began on what was
seemingly the never-ending tour, initially opening for Langhorne Slim then playing
a series of smaller clubs headlining themselves. The band worked tirelessly and
it paid off as the crowds got bigger and the songs sounded better and they even
made some famous friends along with way, as Jackson Browne sings backup here
and Robbie Robertson asked the guys to be his backing band for a time. These
guys deserved it, as they grew in the old-fashioned way: hard work.

 

Enter record
number two ,and if it’s a smidge bit the lesser than the debut it’s because the
band must have written most of these songs on the road in between playing gig,
but the formula (if you want to call it that) has not changed at all. The
influences from that late 60/s/early 70’s Laurel Canyon
scene (CSN, etc.) as well as their above-mentioned friends once again bring out
the best in Dawes. Leader Taylor Goldsmith still sounds like an old soul even
in his mid-20’s and his cohorts – brother Griffin on drums, Wylie Gelber on bass
and keyboardist Tay Straithern (Alex Casnoff 
helped out as well) – are perfect foils for dusty tales of life on the
road (as evidenced on the lyrics of opening track, “Time Spent in Los Angeles”
where Goldsmith spouts “These day my friends don’t know me, without a suitcase
in my hand”).  Next up is the gritty,
loping “If I Wanted Someone” where Goldsmith still like someone looking for
balance and contentment (“The only time I’m lonely is when others are around,.
I just never end up knowing what to say”). 
“My Way Back Home” is a pensive, mostly-acoustic tune about places and
people seen and gone.

 

Elsewhere, on
the turtle-paced “So Well” you realize that Goldsmith is one of the only guys
in rock who can deliver a line like “I am a lonely singer” without coming off a
maudlin or making it sound clichéd, while on the bouncy “How Far We’ve Come” ,
a live favorite that the band began unveiling on stage nearly a year ago,
drummer Griffin Goldsmith takes the turn on the lead vocals and turns in a more
than solid performance. And on the catchy “Fire Away”, another recent live
favorite, they get help from both Jackson Browne and Heartbreaker Benmont
Tench.

 

Despite my
previous proclamation regarding this versus their debut, Nothing is Wrong is a terrific follow-up for a band that delivers
beautiful, powerful music straight from their own hearts and right to
yours.  Believe.

 

DOWNLOAD: “If I Wanted Someone”, “So Well”, “How
Far We’ve Come”, “Fire Away” TIM HINELY

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