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Interview:
Dawes feels comfortable in folk or rock setting
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Though it’s essentially a rock band, Dawes is happy to fit into any scenario that will have it — including this weekend’s Ann Arbor Folk Festival.

“You just never know with stuff like that,” explains the group’s Taylor Goldsmith, who co-founded Dawes in Los Angeles with his brother, Griffin. “You hear about the New Orleans Jazz Fest, and there’s always rock ’n’ roll bands there, and they’re not playing jazz. We did the Newport Folk Festival and played our regular set — a little folk, a little rock ’n’ roll. We don’t change the energy or anything.

“But we have found other festivals where it’s imperative to definitely roll it back and tone it down a little bit. We just wait till we get there and feel out the situation and go from there.”

Dawes is planning a relatively laid-back year as it gears up to record its third album, a follow-up to 2011’s well-received “Nothing Is Wrong.” But the quartet is still buzzing about a decidedly folk music thing it did in late 2011, joining Jackson Browne for a performance at the Occupy Wall Street encampment on Dec. 1 in New York City.

“That was an incredible experience,” Goldsmith, 26, recalls. “When we first got into it I was concerned. Jackson was like, ‘Let’s do this,’ but I felt like I didn’t know enough about it. If I’m going to get up on stage and be a proponent for something and stand for something, I need to know what I’m talking about.

“So I did my research and read a lot of things and talked to a lot of people, and I got more excited than I thought I was going to. I really believed in what was going on and why they were there, so it was a true honor to be a part of it and see it up close.”

Dawes performs Friday, Jan. 27, at the Ark’s 35th Ann Arbor Folk Festival at Hill Auditorium on the U-M campus, Ann Arbor. Ryan Adams, Devotchka, Carbon Leaf, Elephant Revival, Sunny War and David Wax Museum are also on the bill. Tickets are sold out. Call 734-761-1452 or visit www.theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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