SOCORRO, N.M. October 1, 2012 – Gear up for “The Dunwells,” an up-and-coming British group that channels the British Invasion of the early 1960s, but with an exuberant sound uniquely their own, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, at New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center.
“The Dunwells recently performed on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and they were a huge hit,” said PAS Director Ronna Kalish. “This is a young, talented and very fun group of musicians with tremendous audience appeal.”
Their onstage rapport and enthusiasm have fans raving from coast to coast, as well as across the big pond. In fact, critics have called the group’s synchronicity “utterly natural.”
Tech Club-Club Macey will be open that evening starting at 5:30 p.m., serving “pub pies” and beverages. Non-members must pay a $5 cover charge for admission to the 21-and-over club.
Two years is but a nanosecond in the music business, but in that short time the group rose from the pubs of Leeds, England, to an American record deal and a debut album, a blend of acoustic and electric music laced with five-part vocal harmonies.
Kalish said the show coincides with an open house at the VLA and the twice-yearly opening of Trinity Site to the public, the next day on October 6, and advises patrons to purchase their tickets early, just in case.
The Dunwells seamlessly meld elements of Celtic and American folk, rock, blues, pop and soul into a trademark sound all their own, inviting all who hear it to join them ‘In The Moment,’ as a song title suggests.
Let’s meet them: Brothers Joseph and David Dunwell (vocals, guitars and keyboards), cousins Rob Clayton and Jonny Lamb (bass and drums), and life-long friend Dave Hanson on lead guitar, perform under the Dunwell name.
Together, they created the 11 captivating numbers collected in the “Blind Sighted Faith” album, a blend between acoustic and electric roots music laced with vocal harmonies from all five members.
Blind Sighted Faith was produced by John Porter, a multiple Grammy award-winning producer whose clients include Roxy Music, The Smiths, B.B. King, Ryan Adams and Los Lonely Boys.
Also from Leeds, Porter proved to be the ideal collaborator to help bring the artistic richness within The Dunwells to fruition.
From the first time The Dunwells hit American shores at the 2011 International Folk Alliance conference in Memphis, their impact has been nothing short of astonishing.
Folk Alliance Executive Director Louis Jay Meyers told Voice of America radio, “Anyone that’s seen them has just been ‘Oh My God!’ They’re mind boggling!”
All five members of The Dunwells hail from the same part of Leeds, earning their musical chops in local pubs and clubs before uniting as a band.
The Dunwell brothers grew up in a home full of music, listening to such artists as the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, and other musical acts from the 1960s onward. Both boys began playing guitar at an early age, inspired by their father, a talented classical acoustic player.
Later, they started writing songs and individually made their initial marks at open mic nights, playing in and around Leeds. They took their cue from a booking agent who suggested they unite as an act, and they did, teaming up with the cousins and Hanson.
“We all made music for a living before we became a group,” Hanson said. “It’s not just a band that formed. It’s organic and it comes from sharing the same roots, and from everybody growing up listening to and learning music together.”
The Leeds Telegraph & Argus predicted the group’s rise to fame. “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,” wrote one reviewer.
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.
They nearly missed the gig when their van broke down outside London. But the five musicians 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 the Caffe Nero coffee chain, and played a 20-day/40-show tour across England and Scotland to win over a growing U.K. fan base.
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.”
Sponsors for The Dunwells are Associated Universities, Inc. (NRAO), the City of Socorro, Bodega Burger Co. and Lounge, IRIS-PASCAL, Blue Corn Music and Best Western Premier Hotel.
Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for senior citizens 65 and over, and $8 for youths 17 and under, and are available at the N.M. Tech Cashier’s Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Brownbilt Shoes and Western Wear, Burrito Tyme Drive-up or at the door.
– NMT –
By Valerie Kimble/New Mexico Tech