The Autumn Defense

The Autumn Defense

By day John Stirratt and Patrick Sansone sell thousands of albums and tour the world as members of indie juggernaut Wilco, while lending their writing, playing and producing abilities to dozens of high-profile recordings. But by night these renowned pros are able to sit down, relax and create something special that comes straight from the heart of why they pursued music as a career - and that's the Autumn Defense.

After releasing 2007's The Autumn Defense on their own Broadmoor label, Stirratt and Sansone have teamed up with North Carolina's Yep Roc Records to release their latest full-length effort, Once Around. For the past nine years, this pair of Southerners-turned-Chicagoans has quietly been nurturing the reverent, classic pop of the Autumn Defense. Though the outset of the band saw Stirratt handling the bulk of the songwriting while Sansone lent his talents to production, the duo has steadily evolved into a partnership in both respects. From 2000's debut effort The Green Hour to the critically lauded, salt-of-the-earth folk rock of 2003's Circles, the Autumn Defense developed its late afternoon kickback sound like a fine wine develops and deepens – with time. Once Around is a formidable tapestry of thoughtful, intricate sunshine wrapped around a core of timeless, experienced songwriting. It's the kind of record that needed to be made, for the audience but also for the artists.

But that part didn't come easily.

"I think the possibility of an Autumn Defense album after the self-titled LP was a little bit in question," Sansone says. "It wasn't explicit...but I think we needed a little bit of time to reconnect with why we do this, and realize how much we enjoy it."

The majority of that reconnecting occurred while Stirratt and Sansone were in New Zealand last year to record the Seven Worlds Collide charity LP with singer/songwriter Neil Finn and a host of other talented musicians. "The experience in New Zealand was instrumental in this," Sansone recalls. "We were spontaneously writing new songs, having other musicians that we really respect recording with us and reacting so positively to the Autumn Defense
material."

Based in Brooklyn, but raised in Louisville, singer-songwriter Dawn Landes has been writing songs for most of her life, and at 33 already has more than a decade of experience as a professional producer and engineer. After leaving NYU where she studied psychology and literature, Landes began honing her production and engineering skills, working at Stratosphere Sound (owned by James Iha, Adam Schlesinger, and Andy Chase), and at Philip Glass' personal recording studio, before launching Saltlands Studio in Brooklyn with partners Steve Salett and Gary Maurer.

Her new album Bluebird was produced in collaboration with good friend Thomas Bartlett (known for his work with The National, Sharon Van Etten, Rufus Wainwright, Antony and the Johnsons, and many others), and features contributions from Tony Scherr, Rob Moose, and Norah Jones.

Press coverage of Bluebird will understandably present this album as Dawn's answer to her ex's "divorce record". However, like any great songwriter, she's abstracting her personal narratives enough to leave them open to interpretation and a larger meaning. Bartlett's spartan production keeps the vibe intimate, making it easy to connect with these naked and honest songs which manage to rise above the context in which they were written. In the end, the fact that Bluebird is Landes' way of processing the overwhelming emotions she dealt with after her divorce doesn't matter – there are two sides to every story, and this is hers.

$17.00

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The Autumn Defense with Dawn Landes

Friday, February 14 · Doors 8:00 PM / Show 8:30 PM at The Boot & Saddle