Taylor Goldsmith, the lead singer of the folk-rock band Dawes, is passionate about creating authentic and timeless music that resonates with his fans. However, in a world where success is often measured by chart-topping hits and commercial popularity, Taylor and his bandmates have taken a different approach, focusing on building a legacy of albums and shows that will stand the test of time. LA rockers Dawes, GOOD LUCK WITH WHATEVER, 2020 via Rounder Records. It’s the band’s seventh studio LP and was produced by 6x GRAMMY® Award-winner Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, and the 400 Unit) at Nashville’s famed RCA Studio A.
“Part of it was just wanting to challenge ourselves creatively and explore new ways of presenting our music,” says Taylor. “We’ve always been a band interested in experimenting with different sounds and textures, which felt like a natural progression for us. But, we also wanted to create something that felt more raw and immediate, something that captured the energy and spontaneity of our live shows,” says Taylor. “The album was just a desire to make music that felt honest and true to ourselves and to create something that could connect with people on a deep emotional level.”
Dawes found inspiration in musicians who created intimate, raw albums that still packed a punch. Artists such as Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell were significant influences for them and more current performers like Bon Iver and The National.
Their previous two albums, We’re All Gonna Die and Passwords, which had a more complex sound with more instruments and layers. They wanted their new album to have a simpler, stripped-down sound with just the quartet playing, featuring one guitar, one keyboard, one set of drums, and one bass. The goal was to make the music feel big and impactful, even with a simpler arrangement.
They released the album during the pandemic in 2020.
Dawes wrote Good Luck with Whatever before the pandemic but released it after. The title took on a new meaning in the pandemic’s context.
“It’s weird not to have that fresh out-of-the-gate run of shows with that record just brand new, that didn’t get to happen, and it never will. So that part’s a bummer. But there were talks with managers and labels and all that stuff about, do we just wait? Do we just not release music until 2021? And I know a lot of artists did that. So they waited, and I don’t judge what other people did. But for us, we felt like, you know, this pandemic is hard enough as it is.”
In a world that often rewards conformity and commercial appeal, Taylor Goldsmith and Dawes serve as a reminder of the power of authenticity, dedication, and a commitment to creating something that endures beyond the fleeting trends of the music industry.
“We used to hope for a hit, but now we’re more focused on building our own little castle of music. With where we’re at in terms of our age and the kind of music we play, we’re not as concerned with having a big breakthrough hit. Instead, we’re just focused on creating a wealth of content for people to explore and discover.”
The Silver Lining in Taylor’s life right now is the birth of his baby boy.
“If it weren’t for the pandemic, because of my wife’s schedule, because of my schedule, I don’t know if our baby boy would be here. So it is just the greatest thing that’s ever happened to us. And, obviously, we wouldn’t wish this pandemic on a planet. We just don’t know if it would’ve happened otherwise. It forced us to slow down for a second. So that’s been our silver lining in a major way. Obviously, as a planet, it’s been two of the toughest years ever. As a home for us, it’s been the happiest two years of our lives.”
Pursuing one’s passion with authenticity and dedication can lead to a fulfilling and satisfying life. Dawes’ focus on creating timeless music, rather than chasing after hits, serves as a reminder that staying true to oneself can lead to long-term success and a legacy that endures beyond commercial success.
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