Live, Backstage & Unplugged with Dawes & Van Ghost (Video)

Though often overlooked, each year Chicago Bluegrass and Bluegrass Festival is an event that is important to music. The Windy City is rich in musical heritage, the event celebrates just that.

Over the course of two weekends, the event spans two genres and on the second, it was time for that for which Chicago is most known, The Blues.

While on the scene at CBB part two, as part of our Live, Backstage & Unplugged series,  Honest Tune‘s Rex Thomson caught up with two of the slated acts for the day’s rather steeped lineup, up and coming Van Ghost and recent thriving success, Dawes.


Van Ghost is the brainchild of Michael Harrison Berg; and though Berg has spent the majority of his time in the music business on the promotion and management side of things, with Van Ghost, he and bandmates Jennifer Hartswick,  Grant Tye, Greg Marsh and what has become a standard sit in from Natalie Cressman, Van Ghost is a band to keep an eye on –with a new EP (The Effect) that is filled with lyrical integrity and sung with pure harmonies and unforced musicianship.


Dawes has risen to the masses at rapid speed and their ascent has been a pleasure to watch. It has been anything but surprising.


Behind front man Taylor Goldsmith, Dawes’ wistful sound is one that straddles genres from Americana to the blues and pure rock and roll. It is as equally suitable at a jam fest as it is at Coachella and many credit the band as being responsible for reviving the “Laurel Canyon sound,” the 70s term that was associated with acts like Fleetwood Mac and Jackson Browne — the latter of which accompanied Dawes to Zuccotti Park’s Occupy location in early December and is also on the band’s latest album.


With a second record under their belt, Nothing is Wrong, Dawes is reaching an ever-increasing legion. In late 2011, Honest Tune’s Josh Mintz wrote “[Nothing is Wrong is] a diverse batch of songs with a common thread running through them – the human spirit… with songs that cover nearly every emotion — love, loss, hope, despair…” when ranking the album at number one in his top album of 2011.


In short, and for need to get to the heart of the matter, Dawes — and others — are plenty of reason to put to rest the repeated “new rock & roll is dead” claims that seem to be the fad of the day.


In case it isn’t plain to see by now, we are completely stoked to present this edition of our beloved series. So sit back, relax, listen, watch and enjoy as Honest Tune exclusively presents Dawes & Van Ghost Live, Backstage and Unplugged.



Dawes: “Million Dollar Bill”

Live, Backstage and Unplugged

For more on Dawes, visit


Van Ghost: “Modern Day Love Affair”

Live, Backstage & Unplugged

For more on Van Ghost, visit