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Dawes perform an acoustic set in The Current studio

Dawes perform an acoustic set in The Current studio
Dawes perform an acoustic set in The Current studioLuke Taylor | MPR
  Play Now [25:56]

by Mark Wheat

September 07, 2018

Dawes - Crack the Case (Live at The Current)
by MPR
Dawes - Feed the Fire (Live at The Current)
by MPR
Dawes - Never Gonna Say Goodbye (Live at The Current)
by MPR

Touring in support of their latest album, Passwords, Dawes are in St. Paul for a full, two-set concert at the Palace Theatre. Before the big show, members of the band — minus bassist and handyman Wylie Gelber — walked over to The Current to play an acoustic set hosted by Mark Wheat.

Dawes begin this session with the song, "Crack the Case," which cracks open a window into the band's process. "That was the first song that was written that led the way to the rest of the songs [on the album, Passwords," says frontman Taylor Goldsmith. "That often is the case for me, where one song will get written, and that will help me figure out how to write the rest of [the album]. It will kind of send me off as to what kind of record it is."

Naturally, Goldsmith takes seriously the kind of record each of Dawes's albums becomes. "Every record that you make as a writer, it needs to really represent what's been on your mind for the last year and a half or two years," he says, noting that while politics has been on so many people's minds, he didn't want to make something overtly political. With "Crack the Case," Goldsmith says "I wanted to write a song that was more about communication in a broader sense, and how to speak not only to express your opinions but speak with the objective of being heard by someone, which I feel like is something that we've — myself included — we've all forgotten in a big way. Right now, it's more of just a screamfest, and I'm going to wait until you're done talking so I can yell at you, rather than actually posing anything in some way to actually get through to somebody."

Another element that has had a powerful effect on Goldsmith is his engagement to Mandy Moore, a cast member on NBC's This Is Us. Goldsmith describes how he and his fiancée support each other in their respective careers, and it has also influenced his songwriting, particularly for someone who has been described as one of the best breakup-song writers of a generation. "There's not really breakup songs [on Passwords]," Goldsmith explains, "there's just 'I love you' songs. It was a different space for me to put my head in."

Listen to the entire interview to hear more from Dawes, including how they decided to reconnect with producer Jonathan Wilson, what it was like to open for ELO, and which song bassist Wylie Gelber would like played at his funeral.

Songs Performed

"Crack the Case"
"Feed the Fire"
"Never Gonna Say Goodbye"
All songs from Dawes's 2018 album, Feed the Fire, released on the band's own HUB label.

Hosted by Mark Wheat
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Web feature by Luke Taylor

Dawes - official site

An Evening with Dawes: the Passwords Tour at the Palace Theatre (Events Calendar)