2014 and beyond

All of us at Dolly Varden headquarters would like to thank everyone for an amazing 2013. We released “For A While” in late January, and the reception really exceeded our expectations. We are so grateful for everyone who listened to the recordings, came to the shows, played the album for friends, shared it online, wrote about it in magazines and blogs… thank you thank you thank you.

BadgeWe won’t be playing much in 2014 as Steve Dawson will be working hard on a new album with Funeral Bonsai Wedding, his band with Frank Rosaly, Jason Adasiewicz and Jason Roebke. For more information on that, stop by Steve’s website. He’s running a Pledge Music fundraising campaign for the album project. Click the image to find out about that.

We have big plans for our (gasp) 20th anniversary in 2015, so stay tuned.

The songs of Diane Christiansen – FitzGerald’s, Jan 24th

SONY DSCWe’ve talked about doing a show like this for a long time. As you probably know, each of our albums has a few songs that Diane sings – some written by her and some that I’ve written for her to sing. We usually play a few of them whenever we play, but for this show we’re going to stack a bunch of them together and give Diane the spotlight. We’ll play a few of mine, too! We go on at 8pm and play a full extended set, then the Phil Angotti band will play a set of Phil’s great melodic power-pop. Phil and I will also sing a few songs between sets. This is going to be a good one, folks! We hope to see you there. 6615 Roosevelt Road, Berwyn, IL
Advance tickets available via the FitzGerald’s website

New Year’s Eve!

561129_262896323824582_1294485777_nIt’s been a long time since we played a New Year’s Eve show… but we’re very excited to be playing at First Night Evanston this year. We’ll play 2 sets – one at 8pm and one at 10pm – in the First Presbyterian Church on Chicago Ave in Evanston. Howard Levy and his band will play before AND after us. It’s an all-ages event and there will be music and stuff to do and see in various venues all around Raymond Park. Advance tickets her

The year so far…

“This year marks the 19th year Dolly Varden has been together and the Chicago-based quintet recently released its sixth studio album, “For A While.” This album is garnering rave reviews for good reason: this might be their finest effort yet. One listen to new songs such as the autobiographical, Dawson-penned “Saskatchewan to Chicago,” and you will be convinced you are hearing what will prove to be one of the best albums of 2013. Take songwriting informed by the pop sensibilities of the Beatles, soul, classic country, and the Laurel Canyon songwriting sound of the ’70s, then add the gorgeous vocal harmony blend of Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen, and that gives you some idea of what to expect…”  – John Wendland / KDHX-FM



A brand new Dolly Varden album, “For A While”

“Who would think that a band that named itself after a certain type of trout and chalked up two decades and six discs would give us a set of songs that’s worthy of contention for album of the year, even though the year’s just barely begun?” – Country Standard Time

“Chicago’s Dolly Varden – a quintet build around husband and wife Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen – are among the few alt-country groups that prove how wrong it is that music this sweet and pure should have to have an “alt” in front of it. Sublime harmonies, traditional country instrumentation, and songwriting that never gets cute should be standard for mainstream country, not an alternative. Songs like “Mayfly” (where for nearly seven minutes love is praised in all tenses), “Done (Done)” (where the rhythm section breaks out with harmonies to create a perfect roll-down-the-car-window song), and “Favorite Friend” (where a dark piano creates an end-of-the-night ballad worthy of Neil Young) are among the best examples of how music made within tradition can still defy limits when played with inspiration. Considering this group has been circulating for just about 20 years, it’s a testament to its high standards that it has a smaller catalog than most bands of its vintage. Dolly Varden waits until it’s sure it has something worth saying.” -itunes

Here’s a mini-documentary on the band and the making of the new album: