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The Dunwells, Eoin Harrington

The Dunwells

Eoin Harrington

Tue, Aug 21, 2012

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$12 ADV - $14 DOOR

Tickets at the Door

This event is 21 and over

The Dunwells
The Dunwells

Utterly natural. There’s no more fitting description for both the music of The Dunwells as well as the story of their magical rise from the pubs of Leeds, England to an American record deal and a stunning debut album in just two short years.

The group is two brothers, two cousins and totalling five best mates who simply love to sing and play music, and do so together. “We are genuinely best mates,” explains singer, songwriter and guitarist Joseph Dunwell. “We sometimes bicker and fight, but then we hug and make up and go out for a drink.”

When they make music, the results exemplify the equation that the sum of the parts can be even greater than the whole. Striking an organic blend between acoustic and electric roots music laced by luscious vocal harmonies by all five members, their songs and sound feel both bracingly fresh while at the same time as warm and familiar as a dear long-time friend.

Blind Sighted Faith, the debut album on Playing In Traffic Records, is a timeless yet contemporary collection of 11 captivating and indelible numbers that transcend genres to offer a fresh, richly rooted harvest of listening pleasure. From its opening track, “I Could Be A King,” a regal rocker with splashes of modernist Britpop shine, the set is a sumptuous banquet of musical modes. One moves from moments of graceful reflective repose like “Only Me” to the swirling mesmerism of “Follow The Road.” The band offers a panoramic collection that seamlessly melds elements of Celtic and American folk, rock, blues, pop and soul into a trademark sound all their own. Whether it’s the majestic prayerful plaint of “Oh Lord” or the haunting bristle of “Perfect Timing,” the disc displays a dead aim for profound and affecting feeling matched by abundant musicality. Blind Sighted Faith is a stunning first bow that invites all that hear it to join The Dunwells “In The Moment,” as one song title declares.

The album plays like music that was meant to be, and in an all but destined alignment, it was produced by John Porter, who also hails from Leeds. A schoolmate and bandmate of Bryan Ferry, he played bass with Roxy Music before stepping behind the recording console to produce that group, solo Ferry projects, and a spectrum of other artists like The Smiths, B.B. King, Ryan Adams and Los Lonely Boys. With nine Grammy winning albums to his credit and 10 nominees, Porter proves to be the ideal collaborator to help bring the artistic richness within The Dunwells to brimming fruition.

From the first time The Dunwells hit American shores at the 2011 International Folk Alliance conference, their impact has been nothing short of astounding. “Anyone that’s seen them has just been ‘Oh My God!’ They’re mind boggling!” raved Folk Alliance Executive Director Louis Jay Meyers to Voice of America radio. “The quality of the songs, the quality of the playing, the quality of the vocals, the harmonies. Man, they’re like Mumford and Sons times 10.”

No Depression was equally impressed: “People were buzzing about them and the music business folks in attendance were all clamouring for a chance to work with them.” Playing In Traffic Records won out, and four months later The Dunwells were recording with Porter at Willie Nelson’s famed Pedernales Studio in the Texas Hill Country just outside Austin.

All five members hail from the same part of Leeds and earned their stripes as musical entertainers in local pubs and clubs before uniting as a band. Brothers David and Joseph Dunwell grew up in a home plentiful with music thanks to their father’s extensive record collection. Weaned on such artists as The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac as well as countless other classic musical acts from the 1960s onward, both began playing guitar at an early age, inspired by their father, a talented classical acoustic player. David and then Joseph both started writing songs, and individually made their initial marks at open mike nights, playing in and around Leeds. When a booking agent suggested that they unite as an act it made perfect sense.

Bassist Rob Clayton and David Dunwell are long-time friends who spent many hours in their youth listening to music together. Drummer Jonny Lamb is Clayton’s cousin. Guitarist Dave Hanson heard Joseph Dunwell singing in a pub and, duly impressed, befriended and started playing with him. “We all made music for a living before we became a group,” notes Hanson. “It’s not just a band that formed. It’s organic and it comes from sharing the same roots, and everybody growing up, listening to and learning music together.” Once they united as The Dunwells, they all knew that something special was brewing.

The Leeds Telegraph & Argus agreed. “With their easy-going nature, their sheer enjoyment of playing and supreme musicianship this band looks set to burst onto a much wider scene. You can almost taste the expectancy.”

The buzz spread to London when the band booked a gig at The Bedford, a noted showcase venue where acts like Paolo Nutini and KT Tunstall began their rise. The Dunwells nearly missed it when their van broke down on the outskirts of London. But they piled into a taxi with their gear and hit the stage just in time to be seen by Tony Moore, the influential music promoter, BBC radio air personality and singer- songwriter who immediately became a key supporter.

The band spent 2010 touring Britain and Europe, playing such top festivals as Hop Farm (with Bob Dylan and Van Morrison), Edinburgh’s cutting-edge Fringe fest, Triumph Live (with Mumford and Sons) and the Fete De La Musique in Paris. Following the release of their debut EP in October 2010, The Dunwells were named Artist of the Month by Caffe Nero coffee chain — the British equivalent of Starbucks — and played a 20 day/40 show tour of its shops in England and Scotland to win over a growing U.K. fan base. To help spread their music further, The Dunwells frequently busk on the streets of the city’s they visit.

Now with their first album under their belts, The Dunwells are primed to take their music as far and wide as they can. And one can hear that solidarity in the music they create together. “We’re all in it for the same reason,” concludes David Dunwell. “We just love making music.”
Eoin Harrington
Eoin Harrington

Mix boyish, engaging charm and killer good looks with a knack for telling a compelling story in song, and the result is Eoin Harrington. This Irish transplant has been captivating music fans in San Francisco for several years, and now his debut recording, the aptly named STORY, is poised to expand his audience way beyond the City by the Bay.

A classically-trained pianist, Harrington possesses a clear vibrant tenor, and his vocals have been described as reminiscent of Maroon 5's Adam Levine, James Blunt or "a grittier Elton John." The vocal style comparisons aside, the songwriting is what sets him apart, evidenced by his twice capturing "Best Song" in the West Coast Songwriters competition for "I'm Sorry" and the plaintive "Never Be Lonely," now both included on STORY. Bay Area writer Gian Fiero described what makes Harrington special as "his ability to write a song that connects with the listener and tells a story simultaneously."

Whether he's writing out of personal experience or drawing from an ever- wandering imagination, Eoin has the uncanny capacity to create songs that are about real things and real emotions. For STORY, he has compiled 14 songs about love, longing, defiance and heartbreak. Standout tracks include "Move Along," about an impossible relationship, the anthemic "Already Done" and the spirited "Play Your Piano," as well as "No Way, No How," a testament to exactly that -- not taking it anymore. Harrington is scorching on the intense "Addicted," evoking the description of "Blue-Eyed Soul," while "Is It Over," which ends the recording, is a beautifully constructed piece about two lonely people whose paths inevitably cross.

An inveterate multi-tasker, Eoin (pro-nounced Oh-un) produced STORY with assistance from Justin Lieberman. In addition to piano and lead and backing vocals, he can be heard playing acoustic and electric guitars, organ, percussion and bass. Veteran engineer Bernie Grundman, who mastered STORY, said of it: "A well recorded and performed album with a sense of spontaneous naturalness. Eoin is able to create good intimacy with no gimmicks to distract you. Fine work."

His live performances, particularly at San Francisco's major clubs as well as opening for artists such as Alanis Morrisette, Switchfoot, Paddy Casey and Back Door Slam, have built him a loyal core following. He has played live on San Francisco's Alice 97.3 FM and on radio icon KFOG, where his song "Love So Right" earned regular rotation and was featured on the station's "Local Scene Vol. 2" CD. His holiday paean, a rocking rendition of the traditional "O Holy Night," was included in Talking House Records' "A Foggy Holiday: Carols from the S.F. Scene, Vol. 2" collection in December, 2008. Eoin also contributed the song "What If" to the soundtrack for the 2007 MGM-distributed film, "Her Best Move," and has written music for various other film and television projects.

"Eoin is a master storyteller," wrote Independent Musician Magazine, "a magician when it comes to putting words and music together in such a way that you find yourself singing his songs for weeks after hearing them." Harrington's passionate vocal style, energetic stage presence and infectiously catchy songs make him one of the most intriguing new performers to emerge from the San Francisco music scene in many years. And now that the forward has been written, STORY is a fitting first chapter.
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