Dawn Landes is a singer-songwriter based in Nashville, TN who plays “Americana” rock/folk/country and recently released her fifth album, Meet Me at the River, and an EP, My Tiny Twilight, inspired by becoming a mother. While she lives in the Country Music capital of the world, she recently returned from a European tour spanning three countries. I am lucky to call Dawn my sister-in-law, and on her most recent trip to the UK, she even went on a buying mission for Briton Home! Check out these amazing silver teaspoons- chosen with care by Dawn in Exeter during an outing between shows.
When she got home, Dawn was generous to let me interview her about her experience in Britain, as she has gotten to know England, Scotland and Wales over the last fifteen years through the lens of a musician. She has toured in the UK over twenty times, on her own and with other performers, including Sufjan Stevens, Hem, and most recently, Nick Lowe. From Cardiff to Dorset, Glasglow to London, Dawn has met other musicians and performed in venues large and small, iconic and idyllic. She has had a window into a side of British culture many of us never see.
Read our interview here!
Briton Home: Tell me about your favorite places to play in the UK
Dawn: “I love playing at the End of the Road Festival at Larmer Tree Gardens in Dorset, it’s a beautiful spot. Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow is great, and I always enjoy playing in London, whatever the venue may be. I’ve only played in Wales a few times, but Cardiff made a big impression on me. There’s an amazing record store there called Spillers Records.”
Briton Home: What is it like playing for British Audiences? Does it feel any different than playing in the US?
Dawn: “Anytime I play in another country, I feel a bit like an “ambassador” for the US. Most of the audience members have never been to Nashville or stepped foot in Kentucky, so I try to bring a little bit of those places to them through the songs. Sometimes it feels like audiences abroad are more appreciative. I think in Britain especially, there is such an appreciation of the written word and story-telling. Folk music is rooted in Scottish and English ballads after all!”
Briton Home: What do you love most about British Culture?
Dawn: “I love the humor- Brits can be dry without being sarcastic. There’s such a sense of play and fun. I’m amused by some of the language, especially Cockney. And there’s something mysterious and ancient in the land, everything has so much more history to it. The older I get, the more I appreciate the history of each town I visit on a tour”
Briton Home: How have your habits or attitudes been influenced by all your time in the UK?
Dawn: “There’s such a great tradition of storytelling in the UK, whether it’s prose or oral history or a joke or a song… it’s a story well told. There’s a respect for that in British culture that has had an influence on me.”
Briton Home: You lived in New York City for many years…how do you feel about London? Do you have a favorite place in the city?
Dawn: “I love London. It feels calmer, more manageable than New York in a way. Maybe there’s more space? The tube seems friendlier. My favorite place in London is Hampstead Heath, and the Tate Modern!”
Briton Home: Are there things you use everyday at home that come from the UK, or that make you think of your time there?
Dawn: “I love buying coats there. I have a pea coat and a rain coat from the UK… the coats are classy but functional and the details are sweet- the buttons and the lining in the pockets is always nice. I bought my daughter’s winter coat there last year. And I love Wellies! I found mine in Dublin at a second hand shop. The Charity Shops in Britain are great, it’s more of a boutique experience than thrift shops here.”
Briton Home: How are the transitions when you get home after a tour abroad?
Dawn: “Now that I’m married and have a two year old, I’m always eager to get home, but I still crash. There’s usually a day or two of “soupiness” before I’m myself again.”
Briton Home: When is your next tour?
Dawn: “I’ll be touring again in the UK December 4-10 “
Briton Home: Can I come?!!