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:

“For A While” available now!

the band has just made what strikes many listeners as one of the best records of a distinguished career” – Chicago Tribune

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

Video about the making of the new album and our 18 years together as a band

You can buy the CD direct from us at our online store!
or download the album from your preferred online retailer:
For A While by Dolly Varden

Or stream it from
Emusic,   Rhapsody, or  Spotify



New shows and a new video

As the official release date (Jan 22nd) of “For A While” rapidly approaches, we have a few announcements…

Dolly Varden at City Winery, Chicago, Jan 19. Come celebrate the official release of “For A While” with us at this beautiful brand-new music venue. We’re hearing nothing but rave reviews about this intimate new listening room and we’re really excited about this show. Jenny Bienemann, who has a stunningly gorgeous new album called “Heading Slowly Toward The Beginning” will open the show. Advance tickets (recommended) are on sale now.

Here’s a video for the song “Thank You” from the new album – just in time for Thanksgiving!! Enjoy! And… Thanks!

Diane Christiansen has been asked by the University of Edinburgh College of Art to present her drawings and paintings in February. The opening will be Feb 7. Christiansen and Dawson will also be playing a few concerts in Scotland and Northern Ireland to coincide with the art show. Here’s a tentative list of dates:
Feb 8: Edinburgh (venue TBA)
Feb 9: Belfast – Errigle
Feb 10: Bronte (N. Ireland)

Dawson and Chistiansen will also be playing in the Detroit area Dec 7 and 8. More details on that very soon.

The New Phonebooks Are Here! The New Phonebooks Are Here!

The brand new Dolly Varden “For A While” CDs have arrived!! Swanky 8 panel digipaks with lyrics and beautiful fold-out artwork by our own Diane Christiansen. You can pick one up at our show on October 6th at SPACE in Evanston – details below – or mail order a CD from our top secret webstore.  Why top secret? Well, because the album doesn’t “offically” get released until January 22, 2013. So, you have to be on our mailing list to get the secret mail order link – if you want to get it before it gets released to the rest of the world. Sign up in the little box over there on the right hand side of this page. We’ll send around mail order info the first week of October. After Jan 22, “For A While” will be available everywhere music is legally digitally streamed and downloaded and / or via mail order. Speaking of digital downloads…

We’ve put together a “Best Of Dolly Varden” compilation over at Noisetrade.  17 songs spanning 18 years and 7 albums, including 2 songs from the new one – the title track, “For A While” and “Done (Done).” You can download it for FREE by signing up for our mailing list. See a pattern here?

Dolly Varden
Celebration concert for “For A While”
with special guest Nora O’Conner and her band
October 6, 2012  8pm
1245 Chicago Ave. Evanston, IL
advance tickets available here