Berklee's Summer In The City concert series continue throughout Massachusetts and The Dwells, one of the truly noteworthy new duos, will give a free concert at Carson Beach on Saturday. They have toured extensively and have released their second independent/self-produced album -- which means a major label has not infected them with an attempt to make the group sound like a Taylor Swift version of Fleetwood Mac. Their LP is entitled 'Don't Ever Leave Me Like You Do', a propitious collaboration with Randy Roos, who has recorded and mixed the album.
The Dwells consist of Paige Califano and Matthew Bean. They dub their style as neo-Americana country-rock with a firm touch of Gram Parsons -- an incisive influence indeed. Parsons' duets with Emmylou Harris may have built a strong foundation for them and Elliott Smith, who gave us intricate songs such as "Miss Misery" (the Oscar nominated song from Good Will Hunting), is also an obvious guide for The Dwells. Gram Parsons and Elliott Smith are among the many young artists who passed away (and passed us by) with a soft breeze in their melodies and ineradicably open-wounded lyrics.
Subtlety and quiet desperation are valuable fodder for solid dramatic gestures in songwriting; easily overlooked ingredients for a lot of noisy 'hit' makers. The Dwells seem to have picked up on this. They are swimming against the flow of predictable jams that use verses as boring stepping stones to get to an all too familiar chorus. They have a refreshing resistance to a desperate need to be different and, ironically, their originality peaks when they draw from the well of familiar country-rock roots. Queensbury Shuffle and Stuck In The Gray are ardent examples of how strongly they hold on to a revitalized tradition of solid songwriting.
The synergy is also apparent in their unique blend; this duo is not necessarily speaking the same language when they are vocalizing. In fact, you hear two distinct yet variable stories when they harmonize -- even as they utter the same words. This is one of the many reasons why in an age when the word 'love' is as valuable as the promoted quotes from the OWN Network, the crooning whispers of The Dwells may easily be overlooked. Their strong determination to continue the journey (while hitchhiking from where Parsons and Smith left off) must be audibly encouraged.
Saturday / August 24, 2013 / 2:00 p.m.
DCR Carson Beach
Babe Ruth Rd & William J Day Blvd Boston MA 02127