Singer/songwriter Dawn Landes is a Brooklyn-based Kentucky native who does not play country-rock music (although it is a small part of her eclectic mix of pop styles). So, probably someone should have talked her out of titling her third full-length studio album Sweet Heart Rodeo. Even separating "sweetheart" into two words, it inevitably calls to mind the Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo (a title Landes actually uses for one of the songs), even though it has nothing to do with that classic 1968 album.
A little too sweet Let’s say you trust Brooklyn-via-Louisville singer/songwriter Dawn Landes when she says the title of her new album isn’t a nod to The Byrds’ 1968 country-rock classic. Fair enough—Roger McGuinn, Gram Parsons and company certainly weren’t the first, and Landes won’t be the last, to equate the ups and down of life and love to the tumult of a bareback ride. The real puzzler here is why she chose that title for the most restrained album of her already low-key career.
Dawn Landes swears that the title of her new album, Sweet Heart Rodeo, has nothing to do with the Byrds’ 1968 album, Sweethearts of the Rodeo. It references, instead, her great-grandmother’s beau, who ran off to join the rodeo during the Great Depression. But that is hardly the only thing that distinguishes Landes’ solid new album from that classic alt-country record.
Dawn Landes is from New York via Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to making solo records and performing as part of Hem, she also moonlights as an audio engineer. Whilst you may think these facts superfluous to this review, they’re not. But I’ll get to that. Sweet Heart Rodeo is her third ….
Though Dawn Landes claims the title of her new album is not an homage, the Brooklyn-via-Kentucky singer/songwriter probably should have thought twice before naming it Sweet Heart Rodeo. Anyone looking for a slice of whisky-kissed country rock like the Byrds' classic Sweetheart Of The Rodeo will probably be disappointed. For the most part, Landes keeps her flirtation with that genre to an antiseptic minimum.