When Taylor Goldsmith, the songwriter and frontman for the quartet Dawes, learned the band was featured in this week’s Pollstar, he fired off the text below.
Dawes, which includes Taylor’s brother Griffin on drums, Wylie Gelber on bass and Tay Strathairn on piano, has been lauded by the likes of Robbie Robertson and Jackson Browne – and Dawes has collaborated with each. They’ve also spent the last few years touring with the likes of Alison Krauss + Union Station and Bright Eyes, garnered heaps of ink, and are up for emerging artist at the Americana Music Honors & Awards in Nashville Sept. 12. It’s a young band, with the oldest member in his early 30s, and Taylor in his mid-20s. The Goldsmiths’ dad, by the way, is a former singer for Tower of Power.
“This has been our favorite summer of touring we’ve ever had,” Taylor told Pollstar. “Thanks to certain opportunities, like playing all these shows with Mumford & Sons, or being given certain slots at festivals, we’re playing in front of crowds that are bigger than any we’ve ever been in front of.
“And it’s really changed us as a band. It’s brought up the energy, it’s taught us that, for our music, a simpler and bolder approach to our instruments translates much better than nuance and subtleties in bigger environments like this, and it’s forced us to really make sure we were putting together the best possible set list for some of the shorter sets where we’re really trying to win over new fans.
“It’s also given me a lot more energy and confidence as a frontman. Rather than getting intimidated by the bigger numbers, I get excited about getting all 10,000 people to sing something I want them to. And when I think about how small and unexciting I must seem to someone in the way back, I try to make sure I’m doing whatever it is I can to make sure it’s engaging for them. It’s as if this new experience has been a series of new, welcomed challenges for us.
“We’re gonna go make a record within two weeks of tour ending, which is definitely our biggest priority right now, but it’s definitely weird to spend your day thinking about and soundchecking with new material and then getting back in the mindset of getting excited about showcasing material that mainly comes from a record you released last year. But I think everything hitting at once is how we like it.”