Here's a pro tip for those of you obsessed with finding new music: Figure out the songwriters your favorite songwriters love and go listen to them.
Here in Nashville, Tenn., a huge number of the writers I dig also dig Dawes, and you can find out why on the group's smooth-groove third album, "Stories Don't End."
The album's cover depicts the band around a campfire exchanging stories, and that image perfectly captures the 12 songs here. It's a tour de force of cinematic storytelling by lead singer and main songwriter Taylor Goldsmith. Steeped in the California singer-songwriter sounds of the 1970s, each track is familiar musically. Lyrically, the tracks contain complex layers of meaning and vivid imagery that require repeated listening.
At the heart of the album is a song destined to make most best-of lists in eight months. "From a Window Seat" is Goldsmith's best work yet, a song driven along by an insistent piano line and a wordy, esoteric self-examination that somehow riffs on history, geography, identity, all done simultaneously from a bird's-eye view while traveling by airplane. It's a novel, distilled to its essence.
Go check it out. If you hurry, you can say you listened to Dawes before they got big.
Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: http://twitter.com/Chris-Talbott.