Dawn Hiatt’s commitment to diversity and to challenging herself as a vocalist, musician, and songwriter are reminiscent of fiercely independent artists like Rickie Lee Jones and her introspective lyrics, emotive vocals and unique indie-pop sensibilities align her with artists such as Joan as Policewoman. However, her sense of history and acute awareness of musical tradition allow her to reference artists like Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris, or even Joni Mitchell without sacrificing her refreshingly modern and original take on classic forms and structures. Indeed, the effortless movement and marriage between modern day indie, classic country, and the timeless melodies and intensity of gospel music and hymnals, demonstrates the same musical acuity and breadth of contemporary artists like Justin Townes Earle. Dawn has been awarded winner of the Philadelphia Songwriters Project Songwriting Contest in both 2008 and 2009. She continues to perform sold out shows at Philadelphia's premier listening room, The Tin Angel, and has appeared at other prestigious listening rooms including World Cafe Live & Johnny Brendas as well as festivals and larger venues like The Philadelphia Folk Festival, The Bethlehem Musik Fest, and The Kimmel Center as well as performances at various Bethlehem venues such as The Banana Factory, Artsquest Town Square, and Christkindlmarkt. Her album,The Waking Hours, has received regular airplay on WXPN 88.5, was selected as XPN's "Pick of the Day" and has also been featured on 93.7 WSTW Hometown Heroes.
Dawn Iulg - Vocals, Guitar, and Keyboards
Carl Cheeseman - Guitar
Jeff Hiatt - Bass
Fred Berman - Drums
The Waking Hours introduces Dawn Hiatt's signature sound combining elements of folk, alt country, and rock. The album was produced by Jeff Hiatt (The Lowlands, Johnny Miles) at Turtle Studios in Old City, Philadelphia, featuring stellar performances from band members, Fred Berman (Amos Lee), Carl Cheeseman (Joshua Park, The Spinning Leaves), Andrew Keenan (Citizens Band Radio, Hezekiah Jones), as well as contributions from members of The Lowlands, and singers Adrien Reju and Andrew Lipke.
Phillyist Playlist: The Philadelphia Folk Festival
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With so much music going on, who should you be sure to catch? Here are our picks. * Caravan o...With so much music going on, who should you be sure to catch? Here are our picks.
* Caravan of Thieves (MySpace): This Bridgeport, Connecticut-based group puts takes gypsy swing and gives it a young, modern face. If you know local group Perkasie and like them, then you'll probably love Caravan of Thieves. Catch them a the Friday afternoon concert, 2:30 to 6 p.m. on the Main Stage; and the Musician's Workshop and Jam, Saturday, noon to 2:30 p.m. on the Craft Stage.
* The Decemberists (MySpace): We saw The Decemberists at the Tower back in June, and they put on easily the best concert we've seen this year. A little folk, a little prog, a lot of fun. They're probably the biggest name at Fest this year, and they absolutely our must-see act of the weekend. Catch them at the Saturday afternoon concert, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on the Main Stage.
* The Give & Take Jugglers: G&T is a Fest institution, having performed at Fest every year for over thirty years now. Longtime Fest-goers will be familiar with the routine, and many of the jokes have stayed the same from year to year, but especially for first-time Fest-goers, they're a glimpse into the free-spirited Fest tradition. Catch them Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Dulcimer Grove.
* Iron & Wine (MySpace): Iron & Wine, also known as Samuel Beam, continues the Americana folk-rock tradition of Simon & Garfunkel. His smooth songwriting has helped him build a loyal and ever-growing fan base over the past five years or so, and he'll hold appeal for Fest-goers new and old. Catch him at the Saturday evening concert, 7:30 p.m. to midnight on the Main Stage.
* Dawn Hiatt (Iulg): This local singer-songwriter brings a tremendous voice—think Dolores O'Riordan minus the accent—and a great lyrical pen to her music. She's part of Philadelphia's wealth of unknown talent that might not stay unknown much longer. Catch her at the Philadelphia Songwriters Project showcase, Friday, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the Lobby Tent.
* The Low Anthem (MySpace): Favorites of our friends at WXPN, The Low Anthem brings an arsenal of instruments and influences to create harmonic, modern folk. Like Iron & Wine, they should appeal to the classic Americana folk crowd. For us, they're a more restrained version of local favorites Good Old War, and are good for fans of groups like Fleet Foxes. Catch them at the Sunday evening concert, 4:00 to 9:30 p.m. on the Main Stage.
Beyond what we've picked out above, there's much more great music to be seen at Fest. So wander the grounds, check out the workshops, and see what there is to discover. And if you know of a performer we haven't mentioned that's worth checking out, let us know in the comments!
The Philadelphia Folk Festival
Fri., 8/14/09 – Sun., 8/16/09
Old Pool Farm, 1323 Salford Station Road, Schwenksville, PA
Dawn Iulg - The Waking Hours Review
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A coffee shop without a singer-songwriter is like a coffee shop without coffee. The genre tends to r...A coffee shop without a singer-songwriter is like a coffee shop without coffee. The genre tends to rely on the coffee shop just as the coffee shop tends to rely on the genre.
It has become almost customary to hear in the background, as you order your latté, a strummed guitar and a crooner laying it all out on the table-either hoping to be the next Dylan or just…well…hoping. A singer-songwriter is nothing if not for the emotion they pour into their songs. There are no gimmicks or tricks to keep the attention off the lyrics. They are the intended focus.
To stand out in this pool, is not easy.
On Dawn (Iulg) Hiatt's album The Waking Hours we learn she is talented enough to stand out. And we learn a lot about the story teller through the characters we meet along the way.
On the opening track "Quake" Iulg ties a sweet melody to the tormented lyrics, "I wanna shake you, I wanna shake you/I wanna shake you/For your mistakes". The organ in the song begins the distress. But it is the words that stick with you and not just for their melody. You are commited…tied to the character. Temptation creeps in as she takes her final sip of wine and we are left wondering for an outcome. Her story is weaved well.
On "Sinking Stones" Hiatt continues on this path. She channels some of her influences into a country tinged tune that's bass line is the first thing to catch your ear. The song continues along the tortured path that "Quake" began. It will bring to mind a few Lucinda Williams tunes, but by no means is it theft. Hiatt keeps her influences at a distance, making them quite simply, influences.
The highlight of the record is the final track "Farther On". If it were possible, your back button on your iPod or CD player could get worn out. It is a song with a simple plucked acoustic guitar that brings to mind a young Sinead O'Connor and easily chokes up the listener. "Farther on we'll find the answers" she sings with ardor. And with the conclusion of the too brief six-song EP you are left with nothing but the repeat button and the hope that Dawn Hiatt will play your neighborhood coffee shop soon.
Philly Folkfest also celebrates regional folk favorites
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By David W. Wannop Correspondent At 49 years of age, the Philadelphia Folk Festival is a legenda...By David W. Wannop
At 49 years of age, the Philadelphia Folk Festival is a legendary event in size, scope, and longevity. It changes, it refreshes, it remains the same — a constant barometer of the musical/cultural temperature, always presenting a broad scope on how far back we can remember, how far forward we can dream.
Gene Shay, a founding member and master of ceremonies extraordinaire, has much to say about this year’s episode, and I caught up with some local players, some of whom are playing the festival for the first time. Be it through the Folk Song Society, Gene Shay, WXPN’S Helen Leicht, or through the Philadelphia Songwriters Project, the talent keeps coming — around 50 official acts in all.
Dante Bucci and Dawn Hiatt (Iulg) come via the Philadelphia Songwriters Project [PSP]. Bucci plays an unusual instrument with a short history called the hang-drum (pronounced hong), which was invented in Switzerland only a few years ago. It was at the Folk Fest where Bucci, the popular hand percussionist for Mutlu, first discovered the hang through acquaintance Terry McGrath. Bucci’s YouTube clips are adding to the popularity of the nearly decade-old instrument. Gene Shay and I agree that there is something about the hang that seems very ancient.
Bucci is an example of a local guy being adventurous. “I grew up in Morrisville, Pa. I went to Pennsbury High School and later attended Drexel University. I started playing with Mutlu over five years ago. Through him I was introduced to the Philly music scene and had an opportunity to meet a lot of amazing local artists. I was able to develop as a musician while learning from his experiences, and that has made a positive impact on my efforts now with my own music.
“I can speak for myself and say that any instrument to combine melody and percussion as elegantly as the hang is a dream come true. The hang is a uniquely expressive instrument that appeals to musicians of all types, as well as percussionists.
“While I was working on my EP, I had the sense that some of my songs would be a good fit for [Syndicated Radio show] ‘Echoes’. I was optimistic when I sent them my music; what surprised me was how soon they got it and started playing it.”
Bucci says that the resonance the instrument delivers across its entire surface has encouraged him to bring his own microphones and study their best placement to get a balanced sound.
Dawn Hiatt also competed her way into the program. “I was selected through the Philadelphia Songwriters Project. I was invited to play three festivals [Bethlehem Musikfest, Kimmel Center Summer Solstice Celebration and the Philadelphia Folk Festival] after being chosen as one of the winners of the 2009 PSP songwriting competition.” It has been a goal for Hiatt to play the event.
“I have heard wonderful things about the festival since returning to the area several years ago, and am excited to be able to participate this year. Festivals are always a great way to be exposed to new music, so I look forward to both hearing other bands as well as getting to play for a new crowd of music fans.”
Adrien Reju and Chris Kasper have played the fest before, but not as soloists. Kasper was on tour upon the composition of this article, so I caught up with his former band mate from the Lowlands.
According to Reju, “Helen Leicht asked me to play after I sent her the new CD. I’ve wanted to play the festival solo, so it’s been about five years looking forward to this. I played with my bluegrass band the Lowlands a couple of years ago. Bluegrass is great fun to play live and people at the festival loved our performance. Both Chris Kasper and I are presenting our solo projects this year ... we hope to measure up to our success with the Lowlands and possibly more.”
Gene Shay adds, “I heard the new Chris Kasper album and I liked him with the Lowlands with Adrien Reju and the others. Adrien and Chris are part of the festival and deservingly so because they are both excellent performers. Kasper’s album is great and I brought him on the show right away.” Reju also played the festival with the Angel Band and David Bromberg. Shay relates, “I recommended Adrien to Angel Band.”
Shay gave me insight into how the three-day event is compiled.
“Like most local organizations, the bookers are familiar with their areas. They read all the trade publications. They get the feel of what people are listening to in folk music around the country.”
But they didn’t need to go so far afield with one group. “We played in the campgrounds pretty much all weekend-long at last year’s fest, which helped, and submitted our record, and it all worked out,” says bass player Phil D’Agostino of the Wissahickon Chicken Shack. “We’re looking forward to playing with each other as always, and our local friends’ sets and all the national acts. And camping and jamming, of course.”
Shay says of the Folk Fest rookies, “I heard the Wisahickon Chicken Shack, a band that’s new to me, but I thought hey! They’re pretty good. They are full of life and play well.”
Boris Garcia came to attention in nearly the same way. “Boris Garcia grew out of Psych-a-Billy, which was known for playing in the campgrounds at the festival. They’re sort of a novelty band, though I am not sure what I mean by that because they are schooled in folk music. They have great instrumental jams and great melodies. Clever. The songs are catchy and they are always improving,” Shay explains.
Shay is in favor of a different sort of act joining in this year, namely Slo-Mo with M.C. Mic Wrecka.
“It’s about time that a band that had some sort of a feeling of rap or hip-hop music get on the festival. It’s a very contemporary sound, but it has its roots in talking blues to children’s play party songs to jump-rope games, so it is folk roots. Scratching with a turntable is like a distant cousin of using a washboard to make music,” Shay states.
Delaware County favorite John Flynn will be a hit this year, and Shay and the Folk Society go way back with him.
“John Flynn is not a newbie, but he is a beloved local and a favorite of WXPN. To see him catch on with Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson and go on that train tour with Arlo Guthrie was very important to him, and he is devoted to causes other than just his own career,” says Shay.
He told me about some other local acts as well. “I heard Langhorne Slim and he started playing clubs out of the area such as Passim in Massachusetts. The Tin Angel too; and the Sellersville — when a local act starts opening at the Sellersville, that says they are on their way.”
Add national recording artists from Virginville, Pa., Frog Holler, Zach Djanikian from Gladwyne, and the West Philadelphia Orchestra, and you have quite the pool of talent within driving distance of Montgomery County. And many of these acts do play our local venues from the Sellersville Theater to the Keswick Theatre, from Milkboy Coffee to Steel City Coffee, from Chaplin’s: The Music Café, to our college campuses.
But it is still special to hear them play at this revered yearly event among the bigger, better-known stars. After all, this is how it all starts.
Philadelphia Folk Festival
at Old Pool Farm,
1323 Salford AStation Road
at Clemmers Mill Road,
Schwenksville, PA 19473,
Friday – Sunday,
Aug. 14 – 16.
Info: 610-287-7818 or
Local artist celebrates record with release party
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Have any plans for Friday, July 11? Philadelphia singer/songwriter Dawn Hiatt (Iulg) will be releasi...Have any plans for Friday, July 11? Philadelphia singer/songwriter Dawn Hiatt (Iulg) will be releasing her newest album “The Waking Hours” at the Tin Angel.
Recorded at Turtle Studios in Old City, “The Waking Hours” is a folky, rock album featuring collaborations with multiple talented acts, including Drexel’s own Mad Dragon Records artist Andrew Lipke.
This six song EP brings out an alt-country, summery vibe making the listener want to just hop onto a hammock in the shade and relax. If folk legends Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez were to team up with indie-queen Jenny Lewis, their final product would resonate to that identical of Hiatt's “The Waking Hours.”
Presenting personal stories through song, Iulg explains deep experiences in an alluring light.
The standout song off of “The Waking Hours” has to be the first track, “Quake.” Hiatt's sweet voice almost makes it seem like a love song but when listening closely to the words, with lyrics like “tripping on these promises” and “I wanna shake you for your mistakes/…I wanna make you wait,”a dark cloud can be seen moving into the picture.
After a grueling third week of summer term at Drexel, come celebrate this gifted artist’s new album with some friends.
Friday, July 11- Dawn Hiatt and Band
-with special guests Adrien Reju and Andrew Lipke
-The Tin Angel 20 S. 2nd St, Philadelphia
-10 pm, $10/ticket
Posted by Alysson Cwyk on 10 Jul 2008 | Tagged as: Drex and the City
World travel leads to a debut CD
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Dawn Hiatt (Iulg) teaches freshman English at Clearview High in South Jersey. But she's no your aver...Dawn Hiatt (Iulg) teaches freshman English at Clearview High in South Jersey. But she's no your average high school teacher.
Hiatt (Iulg) has lived and worked in New York City and Chicago and has made numerous trips to Central America. She's worked in Honduras on a college project. She lived for a year in Guatemala, doing volunteer work with children, and also spent time in Costa Rica doing a language project.
She studied music at Wheaton College in Illinois while pursuing a degree in teaching and English. Her career also includes work as a singer/songwriter - work that resulted in the release of her debut CD, "The Waking Hours."
Tonight, Hiatt (Iulg) will headline a show at Burlap & Bean in Newtown Square. She is also scheduled to perform in Philadelphia at the Tin Angel (Feb. 7), the Blinkin Lincoln (Feb. 13) and the Crossroads Coffee House (March 14).
"When I graduated from Wheaton, I moved to New York City," Hiatt said during a phone interview this week. "That's when I got my first guitar and started to play. Before that, I had played piano. When I switched to guitar, I began writing songs."
Hiatt traded the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple for the backwoods of Central America.
"I took some time off," she said. "I did volunteer work for a year in Guatemala. I was living in an orphanage and working with Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos, which means 'our little siblings' in English."
When Hiatt returned to the states, she began focusing on her musical career.
"I started my recording project around this time last year," she said. "I began working with producer Jeff Hiatt at Turtle Studios in Philadelphia, and that was a big step. I released the CD in July 2008.
"With my writing, there are times when songs come easily. Now, I'm trying to push myself to be more intentional and to explore different ways."
(Iulg) Hiatt's CD is filled with complex music. The songs have creative arrangements, sharp lyrics and a variety of musical textures.
"I wrote the songs in guitar, but I always could hear that I wanted it to be more than just guitar and vocal," she said. "I knew I needed help with that. It was great working with Jeff.
"It was the first time I had to talk the songs through with someone else. I really appreciated how Jeff pushed me to make creative decisions."
What: Dawn Hiatt (Iulg)
When: Jan. 31, 8 p.m.
Where: Burlap & Bean, 204 S. Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square
The Daily Local (dailylocal.com), Serving Chester County, PA
Saturday, January 31, 2009 6:09 AM EST
By DENNY DYROFF
Friday, July 27th
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Kyle Swartzwelder/Dawn Hiatt (Iulg), Fuel House Co., 636 E. Landis Ave., Vineland, 563-1400. Folk R...Kyle Swartzwelder/Dawn Hiatt (Iulg), Fuel House Co., 636 E. Landis Ave., Vineland, 563-1400. Folk Rock, Acoustic, 7pm.
Born into a family of musicians and race car drivers, Dawn Hiatt (Iulg) grew up singing in church in western New York. The family resettled in southern New Jersey. After college, she began writing and singing original songs. She taught inner-city middle schoolers in New York, was a nanny in Chicago, and cared for orphans in Guatemala. Since returning to Philly, she’s become a favorite on the coffeehouse circuit.
Hiatt (Iulg) will celebrate the release of The Waking Hours July 11 at The Tin Angel in Philadelphia. The album, with elements of fold, alt country, and rock, was produced by Jeff Hiatt at Turtle Studios in Old City. It includes collaborations between Iulg and others, including Kyle Swartzwelder.
Swartzwelder has been a fixture on the Delaware fold-rock scene for five years. His taste for music came at an early age, listening to The Beatles and discovering a 1968 Ovation Balladeer in his father’s closet.
Dawn Iulg This Weekend at The Inaugural Philadelphia F/M Festival
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By Bob Rose Sep 21, 2010 When Dawn Hiatt (Iulg) takes the stage this coming weekend at the inaug...By Bob Rose
Sep 21, 2010
When Dawn Hiatt (Iulg) takes the stage this coming weekend at the inaugural Philadelphia F/M Festival she will be one of 70+ showcases taken place over the course of the four day festival focused on independent music & film. Combining a voice reminiscent of Patty Griffin or Emmylou Harris with the raw edge of Lucinda Williams, has helped Dawn win hearts and ears around the country.
This native of Western New York grew up along the rolling farmlands of Southern New Jersey outside of Philadelphia and began her career in writing and performing original music in New York City after finishing college. Her life experiences have included caring for orphans in Guatemala, teaching inner city NYC middle school students, work as a nanny in Chicago and travels across America, have all help shape her songwriting.
Dawn has been awarded winner of the Philadelphia Songwriters Project Songwriting Contest in both 2008 and 2009. She has performed at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Bethlehem Music Fest, The Kimmel Center, World Cafe Live and premier listening room The Tin Angel. Her music has also be heard on area radio at WXPN 88.5 and was selected as XPN's "Pick of the Day" and also featured on 93.7 WSTW Hometown Heroes.
We had the chance to speak with Dawn prior to her Philly F/M showcase performance:
TSI: How do you feel to be chosen to be part of the inaugural Philly F/M Festival ?
Dawn: I am excited to be part of it. I heard of it through Sonicbids. I know some of the other artists performing which has only made me even more excited.
TSI: How long have you been performing ?
Dawn: I started singing at the age of 5, and have been singing my own music since 2001. I bought my first guitar after I moved to New York City. I studied piano and classic music for two years in college earning a degree in English & Education.
TSI: What are some of your musical influences ?
Dawn: I was influenced by my studies which has help me develop of craft of storytelling, which has made me more focused. Literature has had a tremendous effect on my songwriting. My personal influences would include Patty Griffin, Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams. I feel my singing technique has been influenced by the band Over the Rhine.
TSI: How would you describe your music ?
Dawn: It really is evolving. My EP is country with a little rock and roll. My newer material leans toward classic country artists like Hank Williams and Patsy Cline.
TSI: As an independent artist do you have hopes to be sign to a major label someday or continue the independent road ?
Dawn: My goal has never been to sign with a major label, but I would be excited if the opportunity presented itself. Being signed to a major label doesn't mean the same as it did when I first started out. My real desire is to have a strong management and booking agency team in place to help further my career.
Enjoying my conversation with Dawn (Hiatt) Iulg ( pronounced YULE) and understanding the road she has chosen to travel, I can only wish her the best and hope more people take the opportunity to discover this truly independent artist, who has been creating great music and hopefully will continue to do so for years to come.
2 sets of original material plus cover material by Gram Parsons, Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Over The Rhine, Patty Griffin, etc.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.