Dawes move into new territory with their eighth album, a decade after I discovered them on a sweltering summer night in London.
Eleven years ago this week a friend took me to The Borderline to interview an LA band called Dawes. I had never heard of them.
They were supporting a guy called Jonathan Wilson, and I had never heard of him either. By the end of the night I was a firm fan of both.
Dawes had a sound that was hard to pin down: ostensibly ‘country-rock’, there was a lot more to it than that; like a modern-day version of The Band, there was a hint of funk and soul behind the sound.
They were simultaneously tight and loose, a solid groove anchoring the sound to allow two free-flowing guitarists to paint pictures around a keyboard sound reminiscent of Southern soul, with good tunes reinforced by strong vocal harmonies.
After an hour they went off and came back again soon after with Jonathan Wilson: an unmistakeably LA-looking dude with long floppy hair carrying a guitar.
Dawes, by now firing on all cylinders, backed him a set of his own songs, most of them punctuated with guitar solos of astounding fluidity and dexterity, like an Americana-flavoured Dave Gilmour.
And then, just when the evening coudn’t get any better, an older dude with equally long floppy hair who had been sitting all night at a table by the bar wandered on to the stage to join them.
He was Jackson Browne and he played half a dozen songs that everyone in the audience knew well enough to sing along to.
It was one of the most enjoyable live shows I’ve seen. And now Jonathan Wilson has got back together with Dawes to produce their eighth album.
It finds them stretching their songs into jazz-tinged pastures, creating a more exploratory sound that has been compared to Steely Dan. And this song sounds especially good in the weather today.