When: Sat., Jan. 28, 9 p.m. 2012
Dolly Varden's 1995 debut, Mouthful of Lies, wasn't intended to be a DIY effort. But while the group cut four-track demos in the basement shared by bandleaders Steve Dawson and Diane Christiansen, they decided the homemade recording sounded pretty good. Dawson and lead guitarist Mark Balletto consulted a book about the Beatles and approximated mike placements based on photos taken during the Rubber Soul sessions; by bouncing multiple tracks down to a single one like the Fab Four did in the mid-60s, the band produced a surprisingly full, nuanced album. Dawson and Christiansen formed Dolly Varden after a destructive dalliance with a major label fatally wounded their excellent proto-alt-country band, Stump the Host. And though Dolly Varden briefly attempted to cash in on the alternative-rock bonanza that hit Wicker Park in the mid-90s by turning up their amps, they've since wisely returned to a rootsier sound. The band's later records are more ambitious and accomplished, but Mouthful of Lies holds up very well, balancing soulful romantic plaints (a la Richard and Linda Thompson) with extroverted pop-rock; Dawson and Christiansen have always sounded terrific together, and the former remains one of the city's finest rock singers. Tonight's show celebrates the reissue of Mouthful of Lies, which has been out of print for years, in a remixed version; the band will play the album in its entirety, and admission includes a copy of the CD. —Peter Margasak For more on Steve Dawson, see Artist on Artist. Jason Narducy opens.