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In the past decade, starting with 2009’s North Hills, the quartet has been distinguished by strong, understated ensemble playing and Taylor Goldsmith’s earnest, narrative songwriting, which evokes the tenderness of Jackson Browne and the evocative storytelling of Warren Zevon. Dawes’ latest album, Passwords, is the band’s quietest, most austere effort, a marked contrast with 2016’s adventurous and overstuffed (mostly in a good way), We’re All Gonna Die. Reunited with producer Jonathan Wilson, who oversaw the first two Dawes albums before he went on to work with Father John Misty, much of Passwords is composed of shell-shocked soft-rock tunes about the state of the world. I recently talked with Goldsmith about songwriting as well as the interesting place that his band has in contemporary rock — not quite mainstream, not quite indie. We also talked about what it’s like to be engaged to the star of one of TV’s most popular shows (pretty cool!), and whether it’s ever awkward to work in the same business as your fiancee’s ex-husband (sometimes but not really!).
Dive into the archives and catch up on episodes you may have missed!: Celebration Rock archives