The Maldives
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The Maldives

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Country


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"Best of What's Next"

The Maldives are one of Seattle's best - and biggest - hoop hollering country acts. - Paste Magazine

"The Maldives: Country-Rock's Big Band"

Along with Fleet Foxes and the Moondoggies, The Maldives' members belong to a thriving Seattle roots-music scene. They've quickly become a popular draw, regularly selling out clubs here. With nine people in its lineup, it's one of the area's biggest bands in more ways than one.

Having such a large group by the station for an in-studio performance presents a few challenges. While I was certain that all nine members would fit into KEXP's performance space, I wasn't as sure if they'd get comfortable with the set-up in the hour preceding the performances — or that we could do justice to every band member in the overall mix. I should have known that I had nothing to worry about, though, with KEXP studio engineer Julian Martlew behind the control board; he captured every instrument clearly in the mix.

The band was also in fine form, and we ended up with five excellent performances, including four newer songs that will appear on an album due out next year. As fans of The Maldives know, it's easy to be drawn in by the band's communal vibe, and it was difficult to resist singing and clapping along during its spirited performance.

If you love Neil Young, The Band and The Flying Burrito Brothers, I highly recommend giving a listen to the soulful country-rock sounds of The Maldives. Please feel free to sing and clap along.

by KEXP's Don Slack
November 18, 2008 from KEXP - NPR

"Unheralded Songwriter"

"Listening to The Maldives play their dusty, rainy-day country rock, one might wonder if this (mostly) bearded group of twenty somethings would be better suited to the lonely, expansive corn fields of Kansas than the crowded city streets of Seattle. Geographic incongruity aside, vocalist Jason Dodson, one of the best unheralded songwriters in Seattle, has a keen ear for relating his city blues with a country twang, accenting his voice with ambient pedal steel, fully electric guitars, and the occasional fiddle. The result is Dodson's somber songs of hope and failure, the kind of plaintive, self-reflective stories you'd hear from a heartbroken farm-hand sipping on whiskey in an empty tavern." - The Stranger

"The Maldives, Motopony at Neumos"

The Maldives and Motopony perform a free concert in Seattle as part of the Verizon Wireless Coffee Shop Series

On Thursday, the last event of the Verizon Wireless Coffee Shop Series this year was hosted at Neumos by local bands Motoponyand The Maldives. Prior to their performances, the bands joined with fans for a VIP meet-and-greet experience at Caffé Vita, where they took the Caffé Vita Brewing Schooltour together

The Maldives appeared next, ready to play us many of their admirable country tunes. Jason Dodson led the band through their set list, completed with support from the group’s lively percussion, electric and acoustic guitars, and of course, the banjo. The band projected authenticity throughout this fervent performance, as their focus was channeled into a rich live sound rather than reliant on gimmickry. Sonorous melodies were developed when nearly the entire band projected their voices into their sparkling crowd, a galaxy filled of red Verizon light-up rings. A couple slow-danced in the front row to a few of their delicate deliveries, as others opted for a hypnotic sway. Seattle has recently been noted particularly for our folk-rock and hip hop “sound,” but perhaps there is a new beginning upon us as the country produced by this sincere band cannot fail to resonate and instill a sense of relatable nostalgic pride in its residence. - SSG Music

"Out To Lunch Summer Concert - The Maldives"

Photo slideshow of their Out To Lunch Summer Concert Series appearance which had over 1500 attendees. - Seattle Weekly

"Seattle still rocks, and raps and twangs"

As the world looks back on the 20th anniversary of the “grunge” music explosion out of Seattle, it’s worthwhile to track some of the local bands that have been commercial and critical successes in the “P.G.” (post-“grunge”) era.

In the years following the breakouts of mega bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Emerald City acts that scored national hits were decidedly different from the dour, “Drop D” guitar sound so associated with our town. They included rock-jesters the Presidents of the United States, introspective, mellower bands like Death Cab for Cutie and Modest Mouse, a band that produced a unique rock sound for the late 1990s. In the 21st century Seattle now has a vibrant rap scene and is a capital for “alterna-country” groups playing what has become known as “beard rock.”

The Maldives
Their beards are long, their gothic country rock tunes are epic and The Maldives are stalwarts of the local "beard rock" movement. - Seattle PI

"Our Weekly Picks - August 8-14, 2007"

I think my heart must have some regenerative qualities, like a starfish. Why? Well, every day I eagerly send it to the shredder by subjecting it to the saddest country songs I can find, and each time it comes back ready for more. If there's nothing quite like a lonesome prairie howl and a ripple or two from the pedal steel guitar to make me feel alive, then the aching strains ushering forth from Seattle's Maldives will surely keep my heart racing for days. Pitched somewhere between Townes van Zandt, Neil Young, and Will Oldham, these Puget Sound scruffies sing sweet sorrow like all get-out. (Todd Lavoie) - San Francisco Guardian

"The Most Promising Roots Act"

A friend ventured to suggest, as the Maldives began their set to a surprisingly packed house at the Tractor Tavern (and this even on a night when the Drive-By Truckers were playing across town), that the young Seattle ensemble may be the heir-apparent to the rambling backwoods aura of The Band. That's a tough call, seeing as how just a couple days earlier, this same venue had hosted the Gourds, who seem even more obviously in line to carry that particular torch.

Regardless, the Maldives proved themselves to be arguably the most promising roots act to emerge from the Northwest since the mid-'90s heyday of the Picketts, headlining a night of young and hungry up-and-comers from throughout the broader northwestern landscape.

- Peter Blackstock, February 16, 2008 - NO DEPRESSION

"The Maldives + one hobo"

Local alt-country outfit the Maldives played an opening slot for the first night of Noise for the Needy at the Tractor Last night. I only caught four songs, but they were enough to hook me on the band’s Band/front porch blues/Buffett reel and sway. The singer had a rightly wearied voice, but it was really the nimble lead guitarist and what looked like a middle-aged bearded hobo sitting and playing banjo that really sold me.

The six-piece band was tight enough for songs to come together naturally but loose enough to ride them out shambling. First song was far more country than alt-, knee-slappin’ with banjo, fiddle, and strummy guitar, but the next number, riding smoldering slide guitar, took off into more rocking territory. Hobo switched from banjo to keys to accordion for each song, beefing up and diversifying the sound as needed. Their final tune—a sad, sweet, slow ballad—was their most powerful, evoking early-era Jimmy Buffett in its country-cum-folk easiness, the singer’s vocals and lyrics (“By the wind, sailor”) elevating the low-key arrangement.

Yes, I said Jimmy Buffett, and yes, that’s a good thing. I have a soft spot for twangy songs about sailboats.

- The Stranger

"Seattle's Most Intriguing New Band"

The Maldives are "one of Seattle's most intriguing new bands."

- Tom Scanlon, October 12, 2007 - The Seattle Times

"A LOT Country! A LOT Rock!"

The thing about the Osmonds was that they were neither a little bit country nor a little bit rock ‘n’ roll.

The Maldives probably never bargained for being mentioned in the same hemisphere at the Osmonds, but here we are. Screw the Osmonds! The Maldives are A LOT country, A LOT rock ‘n’ roll.

It’s clear that Seattle is a hotbed for kickass alt-country music. Why this is the case I don’t know; the dank and mountainous Northwest is a far cry from the dusty, desolate flats of the Midwest or the humid hills of the South. I’d wager it’s a blue collar thing. Seattle is historically a working class town, and the Maldives—and the Moondoggies, and the Cave Singers—play a form of working class music. Plus there’s the Tractor Tavern, which is reknown across the West Coast for hosting this kind of music, so there’s built-in support for it.

I saw the Maldives (pronounced MALL-deeves, it’s an island chain in the Indian Ocean) at the Tractor a couple months back as they twanged their way through a mesmerizing set. Well balanced between hard-rocking Drive-by Truckers grit and waltzing Band-ish traditionalism, they rolled along with a nuanced sound provided by fiddle, weepy steel and gentle acoustic and scruffy electric guitars, rich organ, and some accordion, plus a smart, subtle rhythm section. Singer Jason Dodson—looking much like the mustachioed Jason Lee from My Name is Earl—has a helluva voice, striking, clear, and bright like the full moon on a hot August night. He belted and crooned, singing of undying affection, misplaced dreams, family ties, and sailboats. The crowd swayed along.

There’s something about country that, like blues and reggae, resonates with a potent and undeniable truth. It’s folk music. In the right hands, it tells the story of a people. And even here in Seattle, thousands of miles away from the plains and the Opry, the Maldives do it right.

They play the Tractor on Saturday, August 4 before heading off on a two-week West Coast tour.

- The Stranger

"Sasquatch! 2008"

With a fondness for dusty country-blues, Maldives songwriter/frontman Jason Dodson has given Seattle a Jim James to call our own. The homegrown roots-country ensemble - replete with harmonicas, pedal-steel and plenty of twang - has become a local staple, their plaintive sound drawing comparison to the likes of Gram Parsons, Will Oldham and even the Avett Brothers. And if I've learned anything over the last few years it is this: Never get to a Maldives show late; it will sell out.

-Katie Sauro, Sasquatch Music Festival Program, May 2008 - Seattle (Sound)

"Must See Them Live"

Like the Whore Moans, these Maldives (pronounced "mal-deevz," like the island nation) are in between albums, just getting arrangements figured out for a second album.

One look at this crew, and you realize this isn't your average Seattle rock band: banjo, violinist, pedal steel guitarist. These, along with more common guitar, bass and drums, create a gripping sound, drifting between alt-country and Crazy Horse-era Neil Young.

Pumping life into singer-songwriter Jason Dodson's mournful creations, this band at times sounds like The Band — not a coincidence, as the Canadian rock legends are a huge influence on Dodson. He grew up in Vancouver, where his music-loving mother played Willie Nelson, Dylan and the Stones, all of whom made a huge impression on him.

The Maldives songs started as his own solo efforts, until he slowly built this exceptional band: Jesse Bonn (guitar), Tim Gadbois (guitar), Ryan McMackin (drums), Chris Warner (bass), Chris Zasche (pedal steel), Seth Warren (violin), Kevin Barrans (banjo and ZZ Top beard) and Tomo Nakayama (percussion, when he's not busy with his other band, Grand Hallway).

While samples of songs and videos are up on, this is another band that must be witnessed in the flesh to be fully appreciated. The Maldives play the Tractor Tavern — a venue that is just about perfect for their sound (9:30 p.m. Saturday, $7).

Songs like "Blood Relations" and "Tequila Sunday" slowly grow from modest emotions into epic compositions, as the Maldives layer up and hit ferocious grooves.

These Maldives range in age from 25 to 31, with the rugged-looking Dodson on the high end. They are not against drinking, but this practice is a dry one, and the musicians dive into their song with quiet intensity — no messing around — as they prepare for their second album.

Dodson — perhaps more Tolstoy than Dostoevski — had assembled this band only shortly before recording the Maldives debut. "I don't think the first record sounded like them," Dodson said.

Before, they were playing his songs; now, they are playing their songs. "The lyrics are still about the same things," Dodson says, in his modest way, "simple things, love and death."

- The Seattle Times

"Homespun, Earthy, Energy"

Few other Seattle rock bands are putting on live shows with as much homespun, earthy energy as the Maldives are conjuring right now. Jason Dodson and his well-populated band of merry makers (roll call usually involves at least nine members, including pedal steel, fiddle, banjo and accordion players), seem to be on a roll, winning new fans every time they hit the stage, sounding like the one local band who would truly deserve an opening slot on a Drive-By Truckers tour. Some of this electricity is no doubt being channeled by all the time they’ve spent in the studio recently; their Tim Seely-produced sophomore effort is in the works and the boys are aiming for a late spring release. With North Twin and the Tripwires.

- Hannah Levin, January 9, 2008 - Seattle Weekly

"Hard-Rocking Americana"

Also at the top of my hurry-up-and-get-out-of-the-studio list are the colorful characters who make up hard-rocking Americana crooners the Maldives. I dashed out of the Tractor and up the street to the Sunset to catch the last of their performance and was very glad I did. For a band that seems to play out every friggin' weekend, they are still a hell of a draw, and the Sunset crowd was hanging on every note till the bitter end (it was nearly 2 a.m. when they left the stage). Local singer/songwriter/producer Tim Seely is helping them wrap up their latest recording, which hopefully will hit record store shelves early this fall. Go see what all the fuss is about this weekend when they play the Tractor on Sunday, Feb. 16. - Seattle Weekly


Self-Titled LP. Released by Homegrown, 2006.

Tequila/Someday EP. Released by Mt. Fuji Records, 2009.

Listen To The Thunder LP. Released by Mt. Fuji Records, 2009.

Coming soon: Muscle for the Wing LP. 2012 by Spark & Shine Records.



In the great Northwest, The Maldives are more than a band, they are an institution. With a history that goes back more than half a decade (their friendships considerably longer), they’ve played every kind of gig imaginable- from backwoods festivals on the back of a flatbed truck to the inauguration of Seattle’s musically minded mayor. They have overflowed the stages at SXSW, CMJ, Sasquatch, Capitol Hill Block Party and Bumbershoot. In 2010, they were featured on MTV’s $5 Cover series which spotlighted the best of Seattle’s music scene. What started as the personal project for lead singer and songwriter Jason Dodson has at times swollen to a small army of twelve before settling on six full-time members. At some point, The Maldives became bigger than any one man.

Their debut full-length, 2009’s Listen to the Thunder (Mt. Fuji, produced by Grammy Award-winner Kory Kruckenberg), was the culmination of years of live playing, not a studio piece, but a faithful document of who the Maldives had become as a live band. Their forthcoming release Muscle for the Wing (early 2012) is the opportunity to bring the band’s assembled creativity together in a different way and explore their combined vision. And this time they brought in producer Shawn Simmons (The Head and the Heart, Grand Hallway) to capture it all. It builds on a heritage of cinematic American rock & roll that’s at turns chivalrous and fist-pumping, steeped in tradition but unbound by expectations. Dodson’s words reveal characters set in a widescreen frame, scenes from real life that often portray victims of the heart and casualties to the beast that is circumstance.