Dawn Landes is one of the most fearlessly innovative musicians working today, but the songwriter has made potentially her boldest turn yet with Meet Me At The River (August 10 / Yep Roc Records). The twelve-song collection results from an unexpected partnership with Nashville legend Fred Foster, whose list of production credits includes Roy Orbison’s “Hey Pretty Woman,” Dolly Parton’s debut album and Kris Kristofferson’s first #1. Teaming with the Country Music Hall of Famer was far from a predictable move for Landes, whose previous collaborators include Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Norah Jones, Will Oldham, and Andrew Bird. Despite shaping up as something of a musical odd couple, Landes and Foster bring the best of their respective worlds to Meet Me At The River, creating something a more conventional pairing could never touch.
Meet Me At The River marks the first time that Foster has taken on a new act in years, only sporadically producing for friends like Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Ray Price. That all changed when Landes cold-called Foster from a tour with Sufjan Stevens in New Zealand. Upon her return to the States, they spent hours in Foster’s Tennessee home; listening to Hank Williams and trading stories as Landes dazzled with her heart-wrenching vocals and expressive songwriting. The connection was instant, and Foster’s semi-retirement was no more.
For the Meet Me At The River sessions, Foster assembled an A-Team of Nashville musicians: thirteen-time Academy of Country Music drummer of the year Eddie Bayers, fellow Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie McCoy on harmonica, and ‘From Elvis In Memphis’ pianist Bobby Wood among them. Foster even recruited Bobby Bare, with 70 hits on the country charts in a five-decade career, to duet with Landes on her original "I Don't Dance." The track is one of ten Landes-penned songs on the record, embracing themes of heartbreak (“Why They Name Whiskey After Men"), wanderlust (the insatiably catchy "Traveling") and reckoning with youth ("Southern Girl," "Old Memories"). Meet Me At The River also sees Landes revive a pair of lost gems from folk singer Jimmy Driftwood, a Foster collaborator from the 1960s. His politically-charged "What Is the Color Of The Soul of Man" feels particularly poignant in Landes' hands, even 55 years after its initial release.
Pre-order Meet Me At The River HERE.
Dawn is on the road this summer and fall, with a full list of dates HERE.