Dawn Landes at Galileo's
Dawn Landes, a musician from Kentucky originally and Brooklyn, N.Y., more recently, is so comfortable with her band that coming out to her show may feel closer than a big-stage performance.
"We've been playing together for a long time, and we love to play together," Landes said. "Hopefully, that shows ... It just feels like you are at a friends' party, and we're just throwing the party."
This Friday, May 13, Dawn Landes and the Hounds will play an all-ages show at Galileo's Bar and Café in Boone at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8.
Landes describes her own sound as "alt-country, with some rock, but they are all folk songs dressed up in different ways."
She has produced multiple albums, including her most recent, "Sweet Heart Rodeo," which came out in early 2010. This album was produced in her own studio.
She plays guitar, accordion and piano, along with a guilty pleasure instrument.
"I love playing drums; I'm not good at it, but it is really satisfying," Landes said. "Guitar is my main instrument, but when pressed, I say I play the studio; that's the instrument I'm most comfortable with."
Landes has done multiple internships with recording studios and sees the progression in her albums through her years of experience in the industry.
"Hopefully, my production skills have gotten a little better (with each album)," Landes said. "I feel like as a singer, it's just a human thing, you get to know yourself more. You get to settle into your voice more; if I listen to my earlier albums, I was a little bit unsure of what I wanted to sound like."
Much of the commentary on Landes' work discusses her sense of personal storytelling in her songwriting.
According to the press release for her tour, "Sweet Heart Rodeo" contains many of these songs: "The opener, 'Young Girl,' ponders gender stereotyping - competitive boys, jealous girls - over a reductive and distorted keyboard riff. The deceptively cutting 'Romeo' berates a certain someone who ruined one of Landes' birthdays by standing her up. The haunting 'Money in the Bank' marries down-home hippie wisdom ('The night before you die, what are you gonna buy?') to a glorious chorus bolstered by a wistful French horn."
Landes herself commented on the variety of her inspiration when she said, "Inspiration can come from anything. I'm inspired by lines from books, an image from the newspaper ... Each song comes from a totally different universe."
Landes has had a musical career for many years now, but one of her early successes was the opportunity to tour with Suzanne Vega, well known for her hit, "Tom's Diner," in Europe. Vega also helped Landes to obtain a recording internship and continue with that facet of her interest in music.
Landes was a touring member of Hem during the mid-2000s, and she has also joined artists like Feist, Jose Gonzales, Midlake, Martha Wainright and The Swell Season on the road at other times.
Performances can be either rousing or sedate or somewhere in between.
Landes said, "It depends whether they're standing or sitting down, contemplative, whether they want to dance ... It's fun to see people moving to music; I love that."
On the horizon, Landes is in the process of working on a new album and on a separate project for a three-part girl harmony group called Bandanna Split, which may be toured or released, starting around July.
To learn more, visit http://www.dawnlandes.com, and to get a glimpse of what the Friday show will be like, visit her MySpace or YouTube pages.
To purchase tickets ahead of time, call Galileo's at (828) 865-9591. Galileo's is located at 1087 W. King St. in Boone.