Interview with Dawn Landes
Ahead of her only Irish concert of her current tour, we caught up with Dawn Landes for a chat about her new Nashville-inspired record ‘Meet Me At The River’.
FT: Hi Dawn. Thanks for taking the time to talk to Folk and Tumble.
DL: You’re welcome!
FT: Your new album is an unashamed country album and a fantastic one at that. It features some legendary Nashville names; producer Fred Foster, Larry Paxton, Steve Gibson, Bobby Bare, and others. Can you tell us a little about how that came about?
DL: I knew I wanted to make a “Nashville” record that had the sound of Nashville in the 50s and 60s when artists like Dolly Parton, Skeeter Davis, and Roy Orbison first started making records there. I wanted to work with someone who was actually in the room when some of those albums were being made and that’s how I discovered the great Fred Foster. He’s a true legend.
FT: The mix of songs on the album is fascinating. You have Nashville standards written by Jimmy Driftwood; ‘My Church’, and ‘What Is The Colour Of The Soul Of Man’, alongside your own compositions like ‘Southern Girl’ and ‘Why They Name Whiskey After Men’, which all sound very much as if they are from the same songbook. Against that, you have much more contemporary songs like the gorgeous ‘Wind And Rain’. How did you arrive at the right balance between songs?
DL: That was all Fred’s doing. He picked the songs. I brought him a ton of songs and he picked the ones he thought belonged on the album.
FT: ‘Keep On Moving’ is a very powerful song with a very strong political message. Given events happening in your country at the moment, did you feel it important to make such an unequivocal statement about the struggle for justice, racial equality, and the “Me Too” movement?
DL: Definitely. When I first heard that Jimmy Driftwood song ‘What Is The Colour Of The Soul Of Man’ it really struck me. I couldn’t believe how relevant it was today. That song was released in 1963 and we’re still struggling with the same issues in this country.
FT: You’ve been working on a musical about a local woman who became the first to row across the Atlantic; ‘Row’. Can you tell us a little bit more about it? Will we hear a recorded version of this any time soon?
DL: I gave a short TED Talk on Tori Murden McClure, the rower, and you can hear one of the songs from the show there. We’ve got two readings coming up in New York City in the next few months for the show, so there’s a lot of good momentum. I hope to get a cast recording when we’ve settled on a full production date and theatre. More on that soon I hope.
FT: You’re a regular visitor to Irish shores with an upcoming show in Dublin. Obviously, there was a monumental screw-up that means you missed Belfast. Can we hope to see you coming back to rectify that mistake soon?
DL: Haha. I sure hope so.
FT: Best of luck with the new album and tour and thanks again for talking to Folk and Tumble.
Dawn Landes plays Whelan’s, Dublin on 13th October 2018.