Photo credit: Shannon Kelly
Tell us about your touring vehicle. Any notable breakdown stories?
Oh my. I've had quite a few touring vehicles, VW cars and buses, rental cars, other people's tour buses, a Sprinter (while living in Brooklyn, parking was difficult to say the least!). On my last European tour, I took the train for the first time and that was really nice. Easy to do when you're out as a soloist, not so easy with a band.
Quite a few notable mishaps – one that came to mind was on my way to a gig in Wisconsin in the middle of a winter storm. I was touring with a drummer and bassist when we were stuck in traffic on the interstate for over 7 hours, our heat ran out and we had to climb into the Big Rig cabin behind us to keep warm. The driver shared his snacks with us and we listened to his CB radio for updates. Apparently a truck had overturned on the circle line and neither district wanted to pay to send help. It was pretty scary for us and others. The next day I learned that a woman had to give birth to her baby in a car that was stuck in the same epic traffic jam.
How do you eat cheap and / or healthy on tour?
It's tough. When I have time to go to the cool, healthy spots, but sadly most of the time, gas station food, God Bless Marks and Spencers on the interstate in the UK, I wish our gas stations had such healthy options in the States. As long as we have good food on the driver, fruit and vegetables will get into the van. I rely on Yelp and promoters to recommend good places in the area. Playing the same cities over the years I also have some favorite stops.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace it?
I don't try to change the strings that often and hardly ever. I love the sound of the dull, salt-borne. I probably change my strings two or three times a year and I haven't finished the box of D & # 39; Addario & # 39; s that I've been working on for a few years.
Where do you rehearse?
I had a rehearsal room in the basement in Brooklyn for many years, which was necessary because I always had roommates! Since I moved out of NYC, I've been able to rehearse for smaller configurations in my house or with musicians, and rent a room here and there for a full band gig.
What was the title and sample text from the first song you wrote?
"Today I took out my wisdom teeth and it reminded me how much I hate you."
You guessed it from the song “Gretchen” written for my brother after he broke his heart … a girl named Gretchen.
Describe your first appearance.
My mother was a wedding coordinator when we lived in Branson, MO, and I sang at some of the weddings she put together. I was 12 or 13. “A whole new world” was definitely in my repertoire!
What was your last job What was your favorite job
The last job I can remember was over a decade ago. I had a temporary job at Pratt University in Brooklyn answering phones in the engineering department. I liked the crew down there, we were a mixed bag of Ren Faire visitors, fishermen and wizards … it felt a little like freaks and geeks. My favorite job of all time was working at Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books on Carmine Street in the village. I worked there for about 5 years and still love the place.
How has your music-related income changed in the last 5-10 years? What should it look like in 5-10 years?
It's consistently inconsistent enough that it doesn't seem like much has changed in the last 10 years, but now I have a lot more expenses (a house, a car, a wonderful child and family) … I hope to stay afloat, but I really have no idea what's next, especially in the middle of this pandemic? I hope streaming services will pay songwriters a fair price at some point, but there are no guarantees. I just feel happy to be here.
What do you know now that you wished you knew when you started your career in music?
Slow down on stage. It's so easy to get carried away with the excitement of a gig that the songs can get too fast. When your heart is racing, the pace often follows.
Dawn Landes is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter whose music you might have heard if you've seen The Good Wife, House, or Gossip Girl. In addition to releasing five albums since 2005 (and an EP inspired by Yé-Yé, the French pop music of the 60s), she often collaborates with contemporaries such as Sufjan Stevens, Norah Jones and the composer Nico Muhly. She has performed with the Boston Pops, NYC Ballet, and the TED main stage, and performed songs from her musical ROW about Tori Murden McClure's quest to become the first woman to row across the Atlantic.
Landes recently released their recording of the ROW soundtrack. The musical was originally scheduled to premiere at the Williamstown Theater Festival but has been postponed due to Covid 19. It will soon be premiered on Audible in collaboration with the festival.
Connect with Landes online and (possibly) on the go.