July 1, 2018 Developing Artist Showcase – The Dales
The five-piece Americana/Roots rockers in The Dales come to us by way of Los Angeles. Here, they formed in 2016 with Multi-Platinum Songwriter, Vocalist and Keyboardist Drew Lawrence at the helm. You might not immediately recognize the name, but you know him from his work with such artists as violin virtuoso Lindsey Stirling, American Idol runner-up David Archuleta, and the superb songbird Christina Perri, with whom he and Barrett Yeretsian co-wrote the sensational hit “Jar of Hearts.”
The Dales sees Lawrence bringing together a group of his closest friends and sonic compatriots – including Vocalist Carrie Turner, Guitarist/Vocalist Preston Pope, Bassist Kyle Vanes, and Drummer Blake Paulson – to craft music that is fully embedded in a deep appreciation for classic songwriting, early Country music, and carried along on the angelic wings of the quintet’s flawless three-part vocal harmonies. Ultimately, that all equals a sonic return to basics and an outfit who focus on the craft of songwriting rather than endless studio accoutrements and feature guests.
Making musical waves and touring with the likes of White Buffalo and Cris Jacobs, The Dales’ career is off to an immensely strong start with sold-out headliners in their native Los Angeles, as well as across the West Coast and in the Midwest. Media is catching on, and the group has already seen features on NPR’s World Café and Acoustic Café, in addition to TV interviews on NBC and ABC. Considering they have only been in existence for two years, this is a career that is snowballing magnificently!
As if this was all not enough, The Dales’ successes were further buoyed when their video for the standalone single “Still the Love” managed to catch the attention of Grammy Award-nominated Producer Jerry Streeter (The Lumineers, Brandi Carlile). The end result was a collaboration that birthed the quintet’s debut album, Marie, which was recently released on June 8, 2018 via Big Picnic Records/ADA/Warner Music.
Marie carries some hefty themes with her, with the title track, “Marie,” as well as the single/video “Still the Love,” being inspired by Vanes’ girlfriend, Heather Marie Allman, who tragically lost her battle with stage-four breast cancer several years back. Of “Still the Love,” Vanes’ so eloquently stated: “It’s a life-inspired message about eternal love that was delivered in the throes of grief. A reminder that through tragedy, hardship and loss… the love still remains.” The video for the heart-warming track has received additional attention from the Stand Up To Cancer support organization, which posted it on Facebook in hopes that it would be an inspiration to others.
The 12-song collection, Marie, is, therefore, a labor of love on all levels. From the beautiful harmonies and twinkling piano that anchor album opener “Pillars Of Sand” to the fully-layered Americana experience of the angelic, aforementioned “Still the Love,” Marie sees The Dales firing on all musical cylinders. Consequently, there’s a joyful nostalgia to tracks like “Liberty Square,” while “Hiding In The Light” picks up the pace with twinkling guitars and a steady beat, all of it serving to highlight candid, confessional lyrics that weave a catchy, universal theme. This is representative of the group, who pull no punches and sugarcoat nothing, instead going for candid, musical tales that embrace relatable and universal topics.
“California, you’ve been easy on my soul” they croon in “Whistlin’ Jack,” a delicate jam that tells a story heavily embedded in their native landscape. Piano and those delicious harmonies begin the build into “Coals Of Fire,” as the gentle sway continues into “The Wayside,” and ballad “Two Birds.” There is a parading stomp to “Sleepwalking,” while those deliciously ever-present vocal harmonies are especially vivid on the sultry “I’ll Get By.” Then, they return to the delicate for the loving sway of “Blindfolded.”
Ultimately, the collection concludes with the coup de grace, “Marie.” Piano anchors the beautifully emotional offering that is dusted with melancholic strings to create a moving, yet bittersweet, tribute to a lost loved one. The end result is a finale that is sincere and touching and leaves the collection off on a haunting note, all while superbly displaying the sincere talents of The Dales.
Poised for great things and already rolling down the road with a bevy of successes to their name, The Dales are definitely a group to watch for. Their back-to-basics, beautiful Americana/Roots approach to musical storytelling and sincere songwriting is refreshing, delicate, and wonderfully supported by those to die for vocal harmonies. Which all just means that those who love a good, sincere song are going to love The Dales!