LOS ANGELES, CA-  ‘Tis the season for holiday jams — that time of the year where we compare Spotify Wrapped lists, debate just how alcohol and egg yolks go together and witness some amazing artists get together for the cheer of it all. You can deck the halls of L.A.’s Bellwether December 9th, 2023 with Dawes & Friends, the first holiday jam announced by one of the city’s finest folk-rock bands. 

“Expect some familiar faces from the Dawes Universe,” the band posted, later confirming Mike Viola, Mandy Moore (also lead singer Taylor Goldsmith’s wife), Sam Nelson of X Ambassadors, Jim James and Bo Koster of My Morning Jacket, and Matthew Koma of Winnetka Bowling League as special guests, with more to come. Considering that Goldsmith has been a part of the now-infamous “Joni Jams,” you just never know who may cross the stage, so here’s to hoping Joni Mitchell happens to hear those sleigh bells ringing.

Dawes returned to the road after a fond farewell earlier this year to bassist and founding member Wylie Gelber, who also designs and builds one-of-a-kind guitars, basses and pedal boards from repurposed parts under the name Gelber & Sons. Gelber departed to focus on that work full-time — in case there’s a musician in your life who’s asking Santa for a hand-crafted instrument this year.

We spoke with Goldsmith about the upcoming show, all things holiday and the record we all should bother Santa for.


BLURRED CULTURE: Where did the idea for a Christmas show originate? Have you wanted to do this for a while?

TAYLOR GOLDSMITH: We’re in a unique situation being from here and having so many pals here in L.A. So it’s a good excuse to get everyone together to make some music. And if all goes well, maybe even the kind of thing we could do annually with a different slew of guests.

Was Christmas music a big part of Goldsmith family holidays growing up?

Probably about the same as most families that celebrate Christmas. A very typical TG moment is when I found out that Santa wasn’t real (probably a little too late, and Griff probably already had it figured out). I didn’t have the heart to tell my parents that I knew because it would kill their Christmas magic as parents. So we all went along with the lie just because no one wanted to hurt anyone else’s feelings. It was probably a year or two of that before I worked up the nerve to let them know.

What’s the holiday song that holds the most meaning for you?

At this point the ones that mean the most to me are tied to my kids. My older son freaks out whenever we hear Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.” Our youngest dances to “Feliz Navidad” daily.

Personally, my all-time favorite Christmas song is “Merry Christmas From The Family” by Robert Earl Keen.

For every beloved Christmas classic, though, there’s a song that’s so deeply sad or weird or not really about the holidays that you wonder how it was ever made. What’s one that needs to retire from holiday radio?

This isn’t a hot take at this point but once someone pointed out how creepy “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is, I can’t unhear it. 

As we wonder who the “Friends” in Dawes & Friends will be: If you could call up any musicians, living or dead or fictional, to come play at your holiday party, who would they be? (We realize it’s hard to top the Joni Jam!)

’90s Jerry Garcia in a Santa suit.

Which records do you think Santa should leave in everyone’s stocking this year?

There’s a box set of all of Dire Straits live recordings they put out through the years, but it’s currently only a UK release. If we all wish hard enough maybe it can become a US release, too.

How far up on the Nice List do we have to be to get a Gelber & Sons guitar for Christmas?

It’s Wylie’s full time gig now so he should be able to fill all Christmas orders!

Dawes & Friends will celebrate Christmas at the Bellwether on Saturday, Dec. 9. Tickets are available here.

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Dawes. Promo pictures. Courtesy of the artist. Used with permission.
Dawes. Promo pictures. Courtesy of the artist. Used with permission.