A few weeks ago, Olympians from across the world invaded London. On the very day these international athletes started arriving at Heathrow, British-bred band The Dunwells embarked on an expansive U.S. tour.
Guitarist Dave Hanson says the five guys have been too busy to watch the games and were glad to escape the capital’s craziness. Not that The Dunwells are taking it easy — their tour includes almost 50 dates. When they’re not playing music, they’re travelling across the country, hitting venues ranging from a general admission dinner theatre in Washington, D.C. to the huge Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago. The Dunwells are taking the U.S. by storm; in fact, after watching an L.A. show, filmmaker Cameron Crowe tweeted his admiration for The Dunwells.
British invasions are nothing new for the American music scene, from The Beatles to the Spice Girls to current teen faves The Wanted and One Direction. But unlike that boy band’s sugary pop, Hanson describes The Dunwell’s sound as British folk rock.
“We use banjos, guitars, mandolins and such but we do rock out,” he explains. “I think when people listen to use they hear different things.”
The band members themselves listen to distinct genres: Hanson calls Led Zepplin his musical idol and loves blues music and classic rock, but says Joe and David Dunwell prefer singer-songwriters Damien Rice and Counting Crows. Jonny Lamb and Rob Clayton round out the group with a taste for alternative rock outfit Incubus.
“We have different mixes and influences, and that’s why we kind of sound the way we do. We’re not all into one style of music so we kind of bring our own influences to the table, and that’s what makes the Dunwell sound,” Hanson says.
That sound began in 2009, when the band officially formed. But Hanson explains that they started making music together long before that: Joe and David Dunwell are brothers, Clayton and Lamb are cousins and they’re all “mates.” After playing throughout London, the boys got their big American break last, when they recorded their debut album, “Blind Sighted Faith,” in Willie Nelson’s Texas recording studio. The disc came out in February and was just picked up by record giant Concord Music Group to be re-released with additional tracks Aug. 28.
“There’s a message of hope in this album. There are lots of songs that are very much intended to be inspirational,” Hanson says. “We’re hoping that somebody can listen to the album and find some encouragement or some relaxation in the lyrics or the feel of the album and it has a positive effect on people.”
And if you missed The Dunwell’s stop in your city, there is room for hope. After wrapping up this tour, the band will return to England for some shows before returning stateside for a fall U.S. tour, including an opening for Sheryl Crow in Colorado. The British, as they say, are coming…back. And if another Crowe (Cameron) has his way, they’re here to stay.