NiteTalk: Dawes and the Awe of the Road

Dawes Resized
Kevin Hays

You've heard 'em on Daytrotter, seen 'em on Letterman, and wowed about their backing M. Ward and Robbie Robertson. You've even noticed 'em tracking ads for both Chevy and HBO. Mostly though, if you live anywhere near a stage, you've caught 'em up close and personal. They are Dawes, an LA-based four-piece that believes in the truth of music and the awe of the road. On Saturday night the band brings its blend of Americana to BCPA's Au-Rene Theater on a bill with Alison Krauss & Union Station. Expect an evening where Nothing is Wrong.

You cats were last here in May; after this tour wraps you're going back out with Blitzen Trapper. Do you ever leave the road?
We get weeks here and months there. We enjoy being on tour and when we're not on tour we try to be learning new songs and recording. We don't mind constantly working, in fact, we prefer it.

With all this touring, is there even a place you call home? We definitely call LA home. That's where we have friends and family and where we record and a lot of the people and experiences I write about are all based in LA.

Speaking of which, how much of Laurel Canyon seeps into your sound? Laurel Canyon is more of a term to identify something rather than it being actually representative of who we are. It was a place that was important to a lot of musicians we admire and are inspired by, but today it's only a lot of wealthy LA business people. The bohemian artistic quality has drifted more into east LA and that's where we tend to hang when we're home.

That said, have you stood atop Lookout Mountain and listened for legends? We love hearing stories about the people that used to live there, but it seems at this point that the legends are all gone.

Speaking of legends, you recently served as backing band for Robbie Robertson, how did that come about? His manager was looking for someone to sing background vocals and asked a mutual producer friend of ours, Tony Berg. He referred me, I went in and had a great time and it seemed like Robbie was happy with it. When Robbie was looking for a band for his TV performances, he remembered me, checked out the whole band and asked us to do it.

Were you at all intimidated to be standing in for such a legendary Band? Definitely. He's used to extremely accomplished players so we wanted to make sure he felt like he made the right decision picking us.

Any chance of you all reprising The Last Waltz? Ha. No way. If Richard and Rick aren't alive, there's no way. They are two of my favorite singers ever.

Speaking of reprises, you've covered Warren Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns and Money." Will you be performing that song on Saturday night? Probably not. We don't get much time on stage as an opening act so we try to keep it to material on the albums we're pushing.

Dawes opens for Alison Krauss & Union Station Saturday August 20, 8pm at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts' Au-Rene Theater 201 SW Fifth Avenue Fort Lauderdale. For more information call (954) 462-0222 or log on here.

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