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Dawn Landes Sweet Heart Rodeo in September

announces new album Sweet Heart Rodeo (COOKCD498)
Released 7th September 2009

Kentucky-born and Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Dawn Landes has announced she will be releasing her third album, Sweet Heart Rodeo, on Monday 7th September. The album will be preceded by the release of a digital download single, Romeo (released Monday 24th August), which berates a certain someone who once ruined one of Landes birthdays by standing her up, and borrows a hook from Tennessee Ernie Ford’s fifties nugget of resignation “16 Tons”.

Landes first came to the UK’s attention with the release of her acclaimed second album (and her UK debut), Fireproof (2008). Q declared it to be “Understated and beautiful” (Q **** Recommended Album), whilst The Guardian called it “vivid girl-next-door indie pop in the spirit of Frente and Cat Powers.” Uncut said “Landes propels the whole project skywards with a voice that encapsulates the best qualities of Laura Veirs and Cat Powers. It’s pretty much essential stuff.”

Sweet Heart Rodeo looks set to garner even more critical acclaim. The title was inspired by Landes great-grandmother’s beau, who ran away to join the rodeo during the Great Depression. A rodeo theme runs throughout the record as she compares the ups and downs of romance to the rigours of bull riding. “Each song is like its own bull,” the twenty-eight-year-old deadpans. “Each ride its own love-story … you know, trying to hang on to a wild thing isn’t always graceful.”

Recorded in Landes own studio (Saltlands in Brooklyn) with regular collaborator, drummer and all-rounder Ray Rizzo, guitarist Josh Kaufman and bassist Annie Nero, the album kicks off with “Young Girl”, which ponders gender stereotyping - competitive boys, jealous girls - over a reductive and distorted keyboard riff. 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 even drums on an unlikely cover of Margo Guryan’s already unlikely ‘Love’, a 1968 collision of cool jazz and nascent psychedelia. Rizzo’s idiosyncratic harmonica style (“kinda cloudy- the opposite of ethereal”) boosts the quirky ‘Wandering Eye’, a rare song that combines sex and travel without causing offence, while ‘Little Miss Holiday’ imagines a conversation between Jodie Foster and the teenage hooker that inspired her character in Scorsese’s unhinged “Taxi Driver.” It’s tender rather than bleak. ‘Brighton’ is a tribute to a magical day in that great Southern (English) town, yet it could hardly sound more American, Appalachian even. “I hope I captured it in the song,” she says. Her Brighton though is more romantic than the resort us Britons know, already a fond memory. By the album’s conclusion, the wobbly wedding march of ‘All Dressed In White’, you’ll probably be thinking of giving love a try. Even if it does hurt when you fall off.

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