The Dales Drew Lawrence - vocals and keyboard Preston Pope - guitar, vocals Jacqueline Tozzi - vocals Something magical happens when the three members of The Dales - Drew Lawrence, Preston Pope, and Jacqueline
Drew Lawrence – vocals and keyboard
Preston Pope – guitar, vocals
Jacqueline Tozzi – vocals
Something magical happens when the three members of The Dales – Drew Lawrence, Preston Pope, and Jacqueline Tozzi – start singing together. On their new album, Multi Trick Pony, their vocal harmonizing delivers an exquisite blending of soaring beauty and organic emotions. The album also reflects, as Lawrence explains, “the balance of our different musical influences and finding a place where we all meet together in harmony.”
The thirteen-song collection draws upon Lawrence’s interests in rough-hewn country rock, Tozzi’s deep love for soul music, and Pope’s affection for nicely polished classic rock to create a sound that is a refreshing mix of modern and vintage.
The first single, “Glass Wall,” perfectly represents the trio’s musical symmetry. The rock ‘n’ soul power ballad is fueled by Tozzi’s commanding vocals that swing from demure to Joplin-like belting, with Pope’s electric guitar flash injecting a rock edge and Lawrence’s piano and a B3 organ adding a rootsy Americana flavor. All three come together on the song’s rousing chorus. The trio put their own spin on the hit “Jar of Hearts” (co-written by Lawrence and Christina Perri), giving the pop tune a back porch feel.
It is the interweaving of Lawrence, Pope, and Tozzi’s voices that forms the cornerstone of the new album. All three sing on the aptly titled “All In,” with this fun, power-pop rave-up’s lead vocals alternating between Lawrence and Pope. On the Tom Petty-esque ballad “Hurt” and the alluring “Stay,” The Dales’ gorgeous three-part harmonies articulate the heartfelt emotions in these introspective lyrics.
Besides “Glass Wall,” Tozzi’s vibrant singing is showcased on the smoldering “Blue Eyes Dark City” and the funky barnburner “Hold Me Back.” Pope is the featured singer on the twangy traveling tune, “Ridin the Rails,” a re-imagined early Dales’ tune and Lawrence handles the main vocals on the lovely “Remind You,” a poignant, tender song about being there for someone.
During the pandemic, Lawrence, Pope, and Tozzi set about working on new songs. They practiced in Lawrence’s front yard, trying to sing three-part harmonies while social distancing. While it was a challenging period, the experience strengthened their friendships and their creative process as a trio.
In November 2021, they headed to Bear Creek Studios in Washington, reuniting with producer Jerry Streeter (Brandi Carlile, The Lumineers) – who helmed their debut album Marie. Multi Trick Pony was recorded live over the course of two weeks. Lawrence played the organ, piano, and keyboards, while Pope performed all the guitar parts. For the rhythm section, Streeter brought in two Seattle musicians: bassist Jeremy Lightfoot (Vance Joy, Satchel), who had played on The Dales’ debut, and drummer Mark Pickerel (Screaming Trees, the Secret Sisters).
Following the past few difficult years, The Dales set their focus on exploring the positive side of surviving – be it the pandemic or relationships – and creating music that makes listeners feel joy and happiness. The trio crafted songs featuring bigger hooks and lyrics that were less abstract and more relatable than they had done in their earlier days. “You can’t help but feel good,” Lawrence says about listening to the music.
Pope and Lawrence, who have played in bands together on and off for over 15 years, first formed The Dales in 2015. In 2017, an early incarnation of The Dales released their debut, Marie. The band’s folky Americana sound led Parade Magazine to praise the “incredible multi- part vocal harmony reminiscent of CSN (and) the fabulous musicianship of this group.” They toured across the country, headlining shows, and sharing the stages with such acts as Marc Broussard, Cris Jacobs, and The White Buffalo.
Lawrence, a multi-platinum songwriter/producer, began working with Tozzi in the spring of 2019, with the goal to develop songs for her as a solo artist. The Dales, meanwhile, were working on an EP,Easy Times. That fall, however, the group’s then-singer Carrie Turner decided to move on. Lawrence asked Tozzi if she would like to join The Dales, and she enthusiastically agreed. 2020 got off to an excellent start for The Dales with the release of Easy Times. On this five-song EP, the Dales began expanding the folksy sound of Marie, with a ‘70s rock vibe, which American Songwriter described as “uplifting and classic.” Tozzi contributed vocals on a few tracks, including “Homesick Summertime Anthem” that raised the band’s profile when it was used in a radio ad campaign. While on tour in support of the new EP, The Dales performed at Los Angeles’ fabled Troubadour and recorded the show, releasing it later as a live album. As momentum was building for the trio, the tour shut down – as did the rest of the world – due to Covid.
The kinship that Lawrence, Pope, and Tozzi have developed is revealed in the musical unity that courses through Multi Trick Pony filling their songs with a natural, welcoming quality that makes The Dales’ music easy to embrace.
“Our purpose is to ride the celebratory part of life,” Lawrence reveals. “We just want to try and lift people up for the hour or two hours they are with us, whether they are listening to our album or listening to our show.”
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