Three-Day Weekend Time! To prepare for the long weekend ahead, let’s take a look at the tenth R&B NYC #FridayFind: Devin Dawson. When it comes to being conventional in today’s country music scene, Dawson is anything but. Musically, his debut album ranges from the groovy pop-country opener “Dip” to the pleading, rhythmically soothing “Asking For A Friend”. Despite it still being very early in his career, his music and musical process in Nashville are reflective of his originality and surely set him for a successful career ahead.
Listening to the record from front to back it becomes clear that while every song possesses a familiar Dawson sound, each song was written in a distinct manner with a unique feeling. From his radio-friendly country hit “All On Me” to the grunge and blues-heavy “Prison”, each song gives the listener a few minutes of Devin’s heart on his sleeve. But while some of Dawson’s songs can be considered more lyrically jaded than most mainstream country music of today, he dedicates time to ensuring that his fans are aware of where he’s coming from.
On Dawson’s website, you can find his album-centric web series titled “Songs In the Key of F”; the vlog follows Dawson around Nashville and takes you into the writing booth with him and his fellow songwriters on the album. Whether they’re explaining their songwriting process, recalling past recording sessions, or joking around with each other, the series shows Dawson’s true talent in his natural element. In a genre that can occasionally feel inauthentic and confectionary currently, Dawson’s openness and authenticity gives his audience something they can trust, and something they can rely on.
Born in a small Northern California town, Dawson started playing music from a young age and was influenced by everyone from country heroes Tim McGraw and Johnny Cash to rock favorites CCR. Musically and lyrically his songs are representative of various styles and origins, but he seamlessly blends them together in a experimental country fashion.
After originally garnering a small fanbase from his YouTube covers of Taylor Swift’s music (with hometown friend Louisa Wendorff), Dawson moved to Nashville to become a professional singer-songwriter. Identifying himself as “51 percent songwriter, 49 percent artist” , Dawson reveals in his track “Dark Horse” that “[his] heart bleeds for country music”. So far, this passion for country is paying off, as his first album Dark Horse landed at #5 on the US Country Albums chart and his first radio single “All On Me” topped out at #10 on the US Country Sales and Airplay charts.
Currently in 2018 Dawson is touring around the country alone and as an opening act for Brett Eldredge.
Devin Dawson’s #FeaturedFour:
- “Dip” – A number that could be as much a Maroon 5 hit as a country song, this opening track to his debut record sets the stage for a refreshingly unpredictable music career ahead. As an “anti-party” anthem to combat all of the party country that’s currently popular, the song describes Dawson’s recurring desire to leave the party early (chewing tobacco or not.) Even if he’s leaving the Dawson party, we’ll stick around.
- “Asking For A Friend” – In the likes of a country John Mayer or Joshua Radin, this song might just be his best on the album. Displaying his good-hearted nature, Dawson calmly turns this love song into a comforting thought piece, and leaves us hooked on each verse.
- “All On Me” – When you listen to this song, it’s no surprise that it’s his first big hit. Probably his most conventional modern country song on the album, the radio stations promoted it from day one. Through its choruses this track puts Dawson’s selflessness and welcoming personality on a pedestal and shows his true character.
- “Placebo” – In this more uptempo pop-based track, Dawson once again shows his musical diversity. The dancing electric guitar in the intro and chorus provides a upbeat aura a la Keith Urban, and draws the listener in with its fun-natured personality. If any one song will make you want to see Dawson perform live, it’s this one right here.
– R&B NYC