Dolly Varden (USA)
For over 20 years Dolly Varden has been wowing and charming audiences with the warm, sublime interplay of Steve Dawson andDiane Christiansen’s voices; the emotional potency, intelligence and undeniable melodicism of Steve’s songwriting; and the supple backing of supremely versatile guitarist Mark Balletto and the limber rhythm section of bassist Mike Bradburn and drummer Matt Thobe as the band encompasses rock, folk, country and R&B/gospel influences to create something solely its own.
From the 1995 debut, Mouthful of Lies, through The Dumbest Magnets (2000) and The Panic Bell (2007), Dolly Varden has built a sizable, loyal fan base, and now listeners new and old can reap the considerabl rewards of their latest release, For a While. It’s an album that feels like it couldn’t have been created at any other point in the band’s history. For a While finds Dolly Varden occupied with the passage of time, diving into lifetimes of memories to make better sense of today. From the delicate opening reflections of “Del Mar, 1976,” to the Diane-sung transience-themed title track to the generations-spanning ballad “Saskatchewan to Chicago” to the album’s centerpiece, the achingly gorgeous “Mayfly” (“We are lucky, and I must not forget”), Dawson and the band demonstrate that time has had only a positive effect on their artistry. Dawson’s songwriting has gained in depth and observational powers while his voice and Christiansen’s voice have never sounded richer or more expressive.
“Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen manage to swim the waters charted by the likes of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris with gold medal results. A melodic adult sound with rich harmonies and lushinstrumentation.”
– The Village Voice
“Helmed by married singer/songwriters, Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen, this Chicago based band makes a glorious sound, one rich in achingly beautiful ballads, evocative narratives and songs that resonate through sheer drive and determination.”
– Country Standard Time
“With their appealing blend of pop and country Dolly Varden are a gem of a band”
– No Depression
“Thoughtful lyrics, soaring melodies and killer hooks, blurs the lines between alt-country and pop the way the Jayhawks do on Smile, only Dolly Varden does it better”
– Associated Press
“Gloriously hook-y, smart country-pop songcraft…”
– Chicago Tribune
All content copyright BPA-Live