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In April, Dawes released their third album, “Stories Don’t End,” on their own label, Hub. It’s selling faster than the previous one, 2011’s “Nothing Is Wrong.”
Goldsmith says his songwriting has evolved, adding such techniques as modulation and minor-4 chords. And as a lyricist, he feels that he’s outgrown the folk-music touchstones of sunsets, mountains and pine trees, not that he’s distancing himself from his old material.
“I wanted to carve a little deeper into things that felt more real in my life,” he said. “Like you might hear a Warren Zevon song talk about entropy or something that might not seem lyrical or poetic right away.”
Recorded in Asheville, N.C., with producer Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Norah Jones, Of Monsters and Men, Tom Waits), “Stories Don’t End” is Dawes’ most uptempo, energetic record, the bandleader insists — even if many fans claim it’s the mellowest.
“After they hear the songs live, they won’t say that. It’s by no means a mellow experience,” said Goldsmith, pointing that he’s just as influenced by Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones as by Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. “On record, we keep it a little tighter, we restrain ourselves a little more.”
To promote the new album this spring, Dawes opened for Dylan for a month, mostly on college campuses.
“It was everything we hoped it would be. He was really mysterious and private, which is OK because I feel like he goes beyond the rock-star thing,” Goldsmith said. “Even with the biggest of rock stars, you’ll typically find some footage of them somewhere where you realize this is a regular guy, a family man who has to be another person onstage. With Dylan, he’s Bob Dylan onstage and offstage. It’s really a trip to witness this 360-degree commitment to the show, the craft, the writer, the art — whatever you want to call it — firsthand.”
Near the end of that tour stint, Dylan came up to Dawes, offered his thanks and praise, especially for their song “A Little Bit of Everything.”
There were no photos or autographs. Not with Fogerty or Robertson, either, though Mr. Creedence gave Dawes a thank-you note.
“If I were to let the fanboy in me come out next to John Fogerty, I think I’d just be a bundle of nerves. He wouldn’t feel comfortable,” Goldsmith said. “It’s like when those guys played with their heroes. It’s like: ‘I’m here to prove that I can be here, that it wasn’t a mistake inviting me.’ ”
So Dawes just acted like they belonged — because they do.
Twitter: @JonBream • 612-673-1719