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By Charles Leslie
Special to The PREVIEW
The Dunwells, the group Academy Award-winning director Cameron Crowe called “stunning,” comes to the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Durango singer-songwriter Robby Overfield opens the show at 7:30 p.m.
With harmonies reminiscent of Crosby, Stills and Nash and The Eagles, The Dunwells offers a sound that owes more to American folk, country and bluegrass than the band members’ home country, the United Kingdom. The band performs an organic blend of acoustic and electric roots music, with songs described as sounding and feeling bracingly fresh, yet warm and familiar.
The Dunwells’ story is one of a magical rise from the pubs of Leeds, England, to an American record deal and a highly-revered debut album, “Blind Sighted Faith,” in just two short years. London music promoter Tony Moore happened to be among the audience at an initial gig (a show The Dunwells almost missed due do car trouble), and his enthusiasm convinced the group to head to the United States. “Blind Sighted Faith” was recorded at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studio.
“Blind Sighted Faith” (Playing In Traffic Records) is said to be a timeless yet contemporary collection of 11 captivating and indelible numbers that transcend genres to offer a fresh, richly rooted harvest of listening pleasure. From its opening track, “I Could Be A King,” a regal rocker with splashes of modernist Britpop shine, the set is a sumptuous banquet of musical modes. The band offers a panoramic collection that seamlessly melds elements of Celtic and American folk, rock, blues, pop and soul into a trademark sound all The Dunwells’ own.
The quintet of five “best mates” is Joseph Dunwell (vocal, guitar) and his brother David Dunwell (vocals, guitar), Rob Clayton (bass) and his cousin Jonny Lamb (drums), and David Hanson (lead guitar). All hail from the same part of Leeds and earned their stripes as musical entertainers in local pubs and clubs before coming together as a band. The Dunwell brothers grew up surrounded by music thanks to their father’s extensive record collection. Weaned on such artists as The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac as well as countless other classic musical acts from the 1960s onward, both began playing guitar at an early age, inspired by their father, a talented classical acoustic player. David and then Joseph both started writing songs, and individually made their initial marks at open mike nights, playing in and around Leeds.
Wrote Bob Lefsetz, of “The Lefsetz Letter, First in Music Analysis,” “Now this is folk music. It’s supposed to be niche. But wasn’t Mumford & Sons one of the biggest acts of the year? What was it, the acoustic instruments, the real voices, the honesty, the integrity, the vibe? Well The Dunwells are selling the same thing! But it’s different. Just a bit rockier. A bit less folk and a bit more British Invasion. I was sitting inches away and my jaw dropped. Five-part harmonies? They sang about love, they sang about hope, and I’m electrified just thinking about it.”
Robby Overfield is lauded as an acoustic musician who blends the art of storytelling and genuine lyrics with a powerful voice. Originally from Detroit, Mich., Overfield has continued to expand his musical framework from his base in Durango, including unique perspectives on his own life and encounters. With an ability to captivate with his live performances, Overfield is said to leave his audiences changed by the power of music and emotion.
Noted the Durango Herald, “Overfield’s got the kind of voice that any singer-songwriter would envy – you’ve either got it or you don’t – and it’s only a matter of time before someone in the business figures out how talented he is …”
Tickets for The Dunwells with special guest Robby Overfield — $15/$20 — are available by calling 247-7657, on the web at www.durangoconcerts.com. Purchase tickets to three or more Concert Hall productions in one sales transaction and receive 10 percent off each ticket. Discounts cannot be combined, and all sales final.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m., with doors to the Concert Hall and concessions, serving beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, opening at 6:30.