Folk-rockers Dawes will be playing an assortment of shows this year, continuing to promote its 2011 sophomore album "Nothing Is Wrong." But the group's Taylor Goldsmith says job one in 2012 is writing and recording the quartet's third album.
"I've got four and a half songs, and I'm really happy about it," Goldsmith tells Billboard.com. "I'm experimenting with some new chordal things, getting more into the musicality of things that me and my brother (Griffin) learned when we were a lot younger. It's still very traditional, still very conventional, but we're definitely adding more color to it when it comes to the musical side of things."
Goldsmith says he hopes there will be enough songs ready to record by September or October -- hopefully working again with "Nothing Is Wrong" producer Jonathan Wilson, though Goldsmith notes that "his career as a solo artist has really taken off, so for all I know he'll be too busy doing his own stuff to work with us -- and I mean that in a positive way. We're thrilled for him. But I hope we get to make another record with him, and I hope it's the next one because he has a big hand in what makes Dawes Dawes and what our sound is. I would love to hang on to that."
As for fan expectations for a third album, Goldsmith says the reaction to "Nothing Is Wrong" leaves things pretty wide open. "It was funny; some people were like, 'It's a little too much of what they already were' (on 2009's 'North Hills'), and others were like, 'It's too different. I like the first album,' " Goldsmith notes with a laugh. "So I feel like there's no 'right' way. If you make something and it's exactly the same stylistically or thematically, or if it's completely opposite, it doesn't necessarily determine whether or not people are going to like it. You can't really worry about it too much; you should just make the best record you can and then see what people think of it."
While it's working on the new material, Dawes will play a pair of festivals -- the Ann Arbor Folk Festival on Jan. 27 and the Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival on Jan. 28 -- before heading to Australia for the Bluesfest in April. The group will also perform at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival on April 13 and 20.
Meanwhile, Goldsmith says Dawes is still buzzing from its Dec. 1 stop with Jackson Browne at the Occupy Wall Street encampment in New York City. "That was an incredible experience," Goldsmith, 26, recalls. "When we first got into it I was concerned. Jackson was like, 'Let's do this,' but I felt like I didn't know enough about it. If I'm going to get up on stage and be a proponent for something and stand for something, I need to know what I'm talking about. So I did my research and read a lot of things and talked to a lot of people, and I got more excited than I thought I was going to. I really believed in what was going on and why they were there, so it was a true honor to be a part of it and see it up close."