Dusty and the Dreaming Spires
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Dusty and the Dreaming Spires


Band Americana Rock


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Girl The North Country (produced by Mark Gardener of Ride) - played by Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music, appears on forthcoming UK alt country compilation Divided by a Common Language. "Everything All The Time" recorded live at Truck festival 2009 for BBC Radio 1. First single releases planned for spring 2010.



Our lives are entwined in different unexpected ways; when I arrived on the west coast of America in October 2003 for a tour backing Mark Gardener (of Ride) and playing with my own then-band Goldrush, and was met at the airport by an energetic fellow named Danny Power, dressed in mexican cowboywear and blasting janglepop from his battered wagon, l remember thinking: this is the tour manager? Danny was much more than that (and less: we spent much of the time waking him up and telling him it was time to leave for a show) and for some years after we formed a partnership of friendship and songwriting, collaborating in brief bursts whenever we were in the same country, and forming a catalog of over 50 songs in a few weeks writing - sometimes five songs a day. We both felt at times that we were tapped into a simultaneous collective unconscious and the powers of the galaxy: 'Look at the stars, they're really out tonight'. From such different places - me from Oxford, city of dreaming spires and shoegaze, and a bookish literary background, Danny from New Orleans, one of the great melting pot towns of rock&roll - but we managed to inspire each other. We were all on tour in the US when news of Katrina struck: Joe, Nick and I with Goldrush, and Danny with Mark Gardener. It was a shock to us all, but much more to Danny, and coincided with or began a significant decline in his personal situation. For the time being, I had lost my writing partner in friend, and my priority was to do all I could to help.
Not long after, Goldrush called it a day after 8 years and 3 records (via Better Looking in the US), with plenty to look back on favourably - shows with The Flaming Lips, Broken Social Scene, Calexico and Elbow, 3 SXSW appearances and recording sessions with Dave Fridmann and at Abbey Road studios. Our drummer moved to California to marry Jennifer Aniston's body double. Who wouldn't?
My brother Joe and I were busy building up our company running acclaimed music festivals - TRUCK, WOOD, OX4 - in the UK and working on studio productions and arrangements for Danny & The Champions of the World and Hopewell. Nick was playing guitar for chart star Jack Penate, amongst others. Still, the songwriting itch didn't go away and I began crafting some ideas on a seen-better-days piano. Without Danny to write with, instead I turned to his predicament and our time travelling together for inspiration (like Mott the Hoople, perhaps), hoping the healing power of the music could reach him through the ether.

Now all living in Oxford, we thought it was time to get back onstage: I recalled a young drummer named Mike Monahan and along with Nick and my brother Joe we gathered at our studio and played through some new and familiar songs. Dusty is my childhood nickname and became the title for this project, with the Dreaming Spires hoping to become Oxford's own Heartbreakers or E Street Band. The first track recorded was an updated version of the Dylan classic 'Girl From The North Country'; I don't mind following in the footsteps of the Byrds. I heard an old gentleman playing it at a party and misremembered the tune and chords, making our version somewhat fresh. It's mixed by Mark Gardener of Ride, and I hope you'll agree Dusty and the Dreaming Spires is a new band in Oxford's proud heritage of Ride, Radiohead and Supergrass. So far, audiences at Oxford shows have marvelled at the fraternal harmonies and put us in the lineage of Big Star, The Byrds and Teenage Fanclub. As our friend Danny would put it, this is the real show.
Robin Bennett (Dusty) 2009