Formed in 2009 in Yorkshire, England, the Dunwells specialize in the kind of rootsy songwriting that also brings to mind the vocal harmonies of Crosby, Stills & Nash andMumford and Sons. With a sound that owes more to American folk, country and bluegrass, it’s fitting that the Leeds-based quintet got signed in Memphis, instead of their home country.
“When we started to write the music for the Dunwells, the Americana side to it just came organically,” vocalist/guitarist and main songwriter Joseph Dunwell tells The Boot via phone from his home in the UK. “We’re obviously huge fans of American music and its history, but we didn’t set out with that in mind when we started playing together. It was an unexpected thing, really.”
When it came time to record their debut album, ‘Blind Sighted Faith,’ (due out Feb. 14), the Dunwells traveled to Austin so they could lay down the tracks at Willie Nelson‘s Pedernales Studio. “That was an unbelievable experience,” says Joseph. “The place is steeped in history. It’s a beautiful building with a collection of vintage instruments and microphones. The studio used to actually be a country club, so there are these really big rooms there. In one of the rooms, there’s this white grand piano. It was such a dream to be able to work there, and it made recording the album so easy.”
“We actually stayed in the studio most of the time we were in Austin — we weren’t very rock ‘n’ roll [laughs]. But we did go to Stubb’s for BBQ a few times. The food there is incredible. I came back to England a bit heavier!”