ACL Spotlight: The Dunwells
We’re excited to be covering the Austin City Limits Music Festival (aka ACL) this year. As a part of our coverage, all week we’ll be bringing you profiles of the bands and artists that will grace the Festival’s 8 stages.
You can catch the Dunwells on Sunday Oct 14 at 4:15 PM on the BMI stage and Sunday Oct 14 at 5:45 PM at the Waterloo Autograph Tent.
We chatted by phone with The Dunwells right as they were heading into a New Mexico radio station, on their way to Austin. The band hails from Leeds, England and they are currently on tour to promote their debut album, Blind Sighted Faith, which was re-released in August. Formed in 2009 in Yorkshire, the band is made up of brothers Joseph Dunwell (vocals, guitar) and David Dunwell (guitar, piano, banjo) along with cousins Jonny Lamb (vocals, drums) and Rob Clayton (bass) and longtime friend Dave Hanson (guitar, pedal steel).
The Dunwells have an Austin connection. Blind Sighted Faith was recorded at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studio right here in the ATX with the help of Grammy-winning producer and Roxy Music bassist John Porter. “It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, recording that album,” Joe Dunwell said. “A band of five guys from Leeds coming to Austin, Texas, in Willie Nelson’s studio, to record their debut album: You couldn’t write something like that. It was amazing.”
What’s it like to go from playing the pubs of Leeds to opening for Sheryl Crow? “Every show we’ve done so far has been amazing,” offered Rob Clayton. Rob explained that the show with Sheryl Crow in Colorado was their first arena show and that the band received a standing ovation. “These last two years for me personally have probably been the craziest two years of my life,” Rob concluded. Rob admitted that life would probably only get crazier, but for the moment, he’s embracing the fact that every day is different and feels as though he has “the most fun job ever”.
Rob hesitated to pigeonhole The Dunwells’ music, but when asked about how he would describe their sound, he suggested British folk rock. Although the band is a true mixture of the influences of all of its members, Rob points to Damien Rice and Radiohead as a few of the bands that define his musical background.
The Dunwells are looking forward to returning back to Austin and especially being a part of ACL. “We love Austin. We feel at home there,” said Rob. The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Delta Spirit are two bands Rob is looking forward to hearing at the Festival.
What’s next for the band? The Dunwells will continue touring in the US and are set to return to the UK on November 16th. At that point, they will hit the road closer to home.
Five friends, singing and traveling together and clearly having the time of their lives. “We’re all in it for the same reason,” concludes David Dunwell. “We just love making music.”
In addition to their ACL set, The Dunwells will have four other appearances while they are in Austin:
- Official ACL Late Night Show at Wanderlust Live with Wild Child on Thursday, October 11th at 8pm
- KGSR’s ACL @ Threadgill’s Live Broadcast on Saturday, October 13th at 8:30am
- Uncle Billy’s Rooftop on Lake Travis on Saturday, October 13th at 8:00pm
- ACL Wrap-Up Party at Aloft Austin with Martin Harley and Meiko on Sunday, October 14th at 7:00pm