(Big Hassle) Acclaimed pianist Lee Pardini has joined forces with his fellow members of Los Angeles-based rockers Dawes for a brand new collaborative single. Composed by Pardini and featuring original lyrics by Dawes' Taylor Goldsmith, "What It Takes" will be available via GroundUP Music at all DSPs and streaming services on April 7. A snippet of the song is available for streaming now.
"To me, this song always felt like city life," says Lee Pardini. "Tough, relentless and a little menacing, yet extremely rewarding if you can persevere. That's the tone that I think was captured in the original instrumental version on my EP, and that's exactly what Taylor picked up on before approaching the lyrics. Maybe because we are in a band together, or perhaps because we are the same age and share similar musical ideals, but I knew we were in perfect synch as soon as Taylor showed me the lyrics and melody he composed. He got it. It's special to me that we've collaborated like this, but also very special to be able to release this with the band. We've worked up our own unique live version of 'What It Takes' that absolutely has its own vibe. The openness and willingness of my bandmates to venture into this territory further solidifies everything I love about being in Dawes."
"This is a lyric about the demands a city makes on you," says Dawes' Taylor Goldsmith. "Especially the city I've grown up in - Los Angeles, CA. Anyone who lives here is constantly fed this message that your success depends on whether or not you're willing to push your commitments to the absolute extremes. And that all might be true for all I know. But by the time we reach the chorus, this song becomes a kind of resistance to that idea. Recognizing that, sure, maybe sacrifices need to be made. But where is the line for when that sacrifice is too big? I think as a new father this idea has been knocking around in my head for a while now. But it's not a song about parenthood. It's a song for anyone who's wrestling with ideas of dreams, grace, and boundaries.
"The words all kinda wrote themselves when I sat down with Lee's original music for this piece - Lou's Theme. I've always loved this track, as I've always loved every note of Lee's music. He creates such a rich emotional soundscape that the themes and mood of the lyrics felt kind of inevitable somehow. In the best way. I couldn't be more proud of the tune, but also excited about those of us in the Dawes universe continuing to find new ways to all make music and get it out into the world."
Lee Pardini has proven to be one of the most prestigious players, a prolific session musician - known for his work with Dawes, Chris Stapleton, Roger Waters, Phil Lesh, Cass McCombs, Jonathan Wilson, Aimee Mann, Jason Isbell, and Theo Katzman, to name only a few - and multi-talented member of Dawes for more than half a decade. 2021 saw Pardini make a remarkable solo debut with Homebodies, released via GroundUP Music, the groundbreaking label founded by Snarky Puppy's Michael League. A master class in improvisation and band dynamics, the album sees Pardini performing original compositions backed by a star-studded combo that includes visionary guitarist Jeff Parker (Tortoise, Makaya McCraven), bassist Paul Bryan (Aimee Mann, Lucinda Williams, Elvis Costello), and Dawes drummer Griffin Goldsmith. Despite his seemingly nonstop schedule, Pardini swiftly followed Homebodies with 2022's Leon Keys EP, this time showcasing his lifelong passion for tight grooves, Japanese electronic music, and classic Eighties funk and soul.
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