California-based roots rock band Dawes consists of brothers Taylor Goldsmith and Griffin Goldsmith (lead vocals/guitar and drums, respectively), Wylie Weber (bass), and Alex Casnoff (guitar). Formed in the Los Angeles suburb of North Hills, the unit was heavily influenced by the gentle, acoustic-based musical trappings and rich vocal harmony of the Laurel Canyon sound (Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell), as well as by the shambling, romanticized Americana of the Band.
After connecting with producer Jonathan Wilson, the group began participating in informal jam sessions at Wilson's house with Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, the Heartbreakers' Benmont Tench, and the Black Crowes' Chris Robinson. The loose feel of these get-togethers informed the group's aptly titled 2009 debut North Hills. The album was actually recorded in Laurel Canyon live to analog tape, which lent Dawes' recorded sound an authentically vintage vibe. The group soon embarked on an extensive tour in support of the disc (often sharing the bill with wildman indie folk singer Langhorne Slim), bringing its spare, earthy sound to audiences across the United States.