Yesterday, on an impromptu drive through southern Pennsylvania, I caught a three-song Dawes set the radio. One of these was “If I Wanted Someone,” which is my favorite track on 2011’s “Nothing is Wrong.” But the first was “Things Happen,” one of their newest singles that is very new to me, and sports a chorus that shattered like a china plate over my head.
“In a different time, on a different floor
I might mourn the loss of who I’m not anymore.
So I’m driving up to Oakland for a good look back,
And a few revisions to my plan of attack.
Let’s make a list of all the things the world has put you through,
Let’s raise a glass to all the people you’re not speaking to
I don’t know what else you wanted me to say to you
Things happen, that’s all they ever do.“
Dawes, All Your Favorite Bands
I love the way they blend blues-folk feel with rock sensibilities, an Americana blend through and through. This track felt a little more classic than those on “Nothing is Wrong,” at least vocally, as if they went back to draw more inspiration from 70s rootsy rock than the mellow-hipster contemporaries they found themselves on the radio among in recent years. I love the guitar line too, something very spacey-hippie about it. Whoever mixed this deserves some serious credit, because it sounds straight from the stage. Given I never got into Dawes’ 2013 release I’m not sure what kind of evolution I missed, but if it wound up with the kind of raw layers and harmonies produced at the end of “Things Happen,” then I’d say they are heading in the right direction. The album is now streaming in pre-release form on NPR, and I think I will listen for more – more ringing guitars, more honest-to-goodness honest folk, more feelings from the 10,000-foot perspective.