Folk-rocker Dawn Landes has had an incredibly productive two years, releasing a full-length album, an EP of covers and a musical about Tori Murden McClure, the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean. She also found time to tour as part of Sufjan Stevens' band.
amNY spoke with the busy singer-songwriter.
Your album "Bluebird" came out of your divorce from fellow songwriter Josh Ritter. Is it hard to play those songs night after night?
Yeah, but I think that's always hard to do. It depends on which frame of mind you're in. It's sometimes hard to sing a song I wrote 10 years ago. ... But with music, once it's out, it's not really about me. It's about [the listeners] at that point. It's just me being the jukebox and playing it for them.
What grabbed you about Tori Murden McClure's storyr
I'm from Louisville. She's also from there. A friend of mine passed me her book, "A Pearl in the Storm," which is beautifully written. I remember living in Louisville when she was doing her first attempt to row across the ocean. I thought it was incredibly brave. I remember wondering if I could ever do that. The answer is no.
Was writing a musical something you always wanted to dod
I never would have thought of it, to be honest. I met Daniel Goldstein ... He asked me if I would ever consider writing a musical. It never crossed my mind. We started sharing ideas. I gave him Tori's book. I said, "I don't know if this could ever be a musical." He thought it could be and now it is.
What inspired the covers albuml How did you choose the songso
I've been touring a lot. Just to switch it up I like to throw in covers. ... I posted a bunch of demos and had fans choose which ones they wanted me to record. At the time, I was touring with Bryan Ferry, so there's a Roxy Music song on there.
That song got a second life from "Lost In Translation."
I made a video spoofing that movie. I play all the characters. I played Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray. Playing Bill Murray was a lot more fun.
You grew up in Kentucky, but have lived in NYC for a long time. How does each place inform your music
They inform it so much later. I remember when I was living in France a few years ago I wrote an album called "Sweet Heart Rodeo" with cowboy themes hearkening back to my grandparents and my mom and being around rodeos as a kid. That came out of nowhere. I was living in Paris. Maybe it's nostalgia for what you don't have. Then I wrote a French record when I was back in New York. I guess there's an incubation period. You have to process it, then it will resurface.
If you go: Dawn Landes is at Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park Bandshell on Friday at 7:30 p.m., enter at Prospect Park West and Ninth Street, FREE