Liner Notes: Dawes, Record Store Day, 420, and Patriot’s Day Tragedy

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April 16, 2013 by Jay Minkin

It’s always a little tough to write about non-essential subjects when devastating tragedy has come down on folks who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Be it shootings, weather, transportation, or trying to be invincible … people continue to die senselessly … some way too young.  It has touched close to home here in Akron, Ohio this month just as it has done more than likely in your town or region.  We will continue to get brushed back and knocked down, only to get back up and fight for justice, peace, love, understanding, compassion, morality, and the betterment of the human race.  As the news continues to unfold and more information is released about what happened during the world class sporting event Boston Marathon held on Patriot’s Day in the State of Massachusetts,   we should all pause to remember those that lost their lives and incurred life altering injuries.  Boston is in my heart … please be strong and carry on.

Record Store Day happens on April 20th.  For Audiophiles, Record Store Day is our Patriot’s Day.  With old school vinyl making a comeback and new music being released on high quality lacquer with beautiful artistic packaging, it bridges multi-generations of listeners together.    It’s also the same day as a counter culture holiday of cannabis consumption. Mixing a little weed with some good music has been going on since the days of New York City Beatniks and the Haight-Ashbury Deadheads in San Francisco.  If the local hippy dippy weatherman can forecast a beautiful sunny day come Saturday, it has the makings of a music geek’s perfect storm.  I’m already dreaming of finding a copy of The Gilded Palace of Sin by The Flying Burrito Brothers to throw on my vintage Technics 1200 direct drive turntable I bought in high school to play in honor of the coincidence.

So what’s on your wish list?  I pre-ordered the new record from Dawes titled Stories Don’t End after falling in love with their Laurel Canyon sound on their 2011 release Nothing Is Wrong.  Lead vocalist and primary songwriter Taylor Goldsmith has crafted ten new songs with one “Just Beneath The Surface” opening and closing the record.  The first is a big opening number with a locomotive backbeat while the reprise finale is a first-take run through the song that producer Jacquire King was recording unbeknown to the band.  The only cover is the catchy single “Hey Lover” that was borrowed from friend and former band mate Blake Mills that has Taylor and his brother, drummer Griffin Goldsmith trading vocals.  Recorded at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville, North Carolina, Dawes changed from working in their southern California comfort zone and added a bit of a fresh prospective on their third full length Lp without totally deviating from the sound that the band has forged.  A true Americana crossover group, the first single, a rockin’ story teller called “From A Window Seat” has the video featured on both VH1 and CMT.    Beautiful keyboard work from Tay  Strathairn along with vocal harmonies with bassist Wylie Gelber have been making Dawes one of the better acts to see live on stage for an experience beyond listening to the disc.  Some of the other track highlights include a sad ballad of lost love called “Just My Luck”, the acoustic “Someone Will”, and “Bear Witness” which was a last minute edition to the record about a man having a conversation with his child at the hospital.  Dawes will be on tour opening for Bob Dylan in my hometown on Friday night and may be heading to a concert hall near you.  So check with the usual suspects for tour dates and ticket information.

Thanks for hanging with me this week.  I hope that when you’re panning for gold through those record bins this weekend that you find some unexpected gems to purchase and add to your collection.  I appreciate your friendships and coming along for the ride with me on this page.

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