‘Rodeo’ queen Dawn Landes channels country roots on new album

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Dawn Landes is a rodeo queen in a subway town.

The Kentucky native, who now calls Cobble Hill home, can’t shake her country roots, especially on her latest album, “Sweet Heart Rodeo.”

As the name of her latest album suggests, rodeo themes abound.

“I started realizing there were images of cowboys and bucking broncos,” said Landes, who plays the Bell House on April 23, of her fourth album.

The musician was inspired not by any personal cowgirl experience when writing “Rodeo,” but by her great-grandmother’s relationship with a daredevil who joined a rodeo during the Great Depression. Plus, it had a nice ring to it.

“The whole idea of the sweetheart rodeo seemed cool to me – a dating rodeo,” said Landes.

While Landes’s new album naturally has a strong country-folk influence, it is also stylistically diverse, from the cow punk feel on “Young Girl” to the 1960s girl-group sound on “Romeo.” The songs also draw on a range of unexpected influences, such as the prostitute Jodie Foster portrayed in the movie “Taxi Driver” on the track “Little Miss Holiday,” to “Here Comes the Bride” in the instrumental track “All Dressed in White.”

“A lot of people I knew were getting married around the time,” said Landes, who is married to fellow musician Josh Ritter. “I would love it if somebody walked down the aisle to that song.”

So if there is love on the rodeo, Landes has you covered.

Dawn Landes at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510] on April 23 at 8 pm. Tickets $18. For info, visit

Updated 12:05 am, April 21, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

Carly from Park Slope says:
Who is she? Never heard the name before.
April 21, 2010, 4:48 pm
Joey Bots from Bots Land says:
Dawn is a great talent!! Love her cover of Young Folks! Sweet and sexy voice!!
April 26, 2010, 1:03 pm

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