Dawn Landes – ‘Dawn’s Music’ – Album Review

After the release of ‘Fireproof’ earlier this year on Fargo, Kentucky born Dawn Landes kindled much critical acclaim for her captivating and endearingly astute take on grassroots folk. Now, Landes returns with a re-release of her first album ‘Dawn’s Music’ (October 6th) with the label that first discovered her, Boy Scouting Recordings.

Previously release in 2005 in France, ‘Dawn’s Music’ aurally illustrates her innocent inception onto the music scene, with an album that cascades with further virginal lo-fi qualities and insouciant reverence. Similar to that which was acquainted with ‘Fireproof’, ‘Dawn’s Music’ is a beguiling symposium of sentimental serenity and earnest expression.

Landes’ self-penned and produced orchestrations endear towards an honest listen, dexterous in artistic treatment and integrity, adding to the insight of the life and mind of a songstress deracinated from her small town dwellings. Her adopted home of Brooklyn has inspired her works, honing her skills as a recording engineer; however, Dawn has remained aloof towards the kooky ‘anti-folk’ scene of New York’s artists (Regina Spektor et al.) that encapsulate its frangible walls. Instead, ‘Dawn’s Music’ has embraced heritage and tradition akin to the likes of Woody Guthrie with angelic demure and pertness.

‘Dawn’s Music’ is as diverse within its genre as it is cohesive: from the despondent lo-fi liberation of the opener “Suspicion“, to the harmonious “Kissing Song“, to the cutting candour of the gritty “Scars”, it is celestial normality and essence of Dawn’s vocal deliverance that amalgamates the album with a personal familiarity with each listen.

The release comes with a bonus CD ‘Straight Line’, a seven track disk including the track “Caroline” the song she recorded with friends Hem, as well as the single and fan favourite “Straight Lines”. The bonus CD also includes an incredible country cover of Peter, Bjorn and John’s number 1 hit “Young Folks”.

In all, Dawn manages to bridge a gap that many folk artists fail to employ when trying to break the mainstream, by adding the appeal of pop-simplicity and melody to heartfelt folk honesty. Think of Cat Power’s musical autism combined with Ryan Adam’s heredity and you’re somewhere close to Landes’ orchestral beauty.

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