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Dakota Moon Biography

Last updated: 08/18/2002 10:10:20 PM

For Dakota Moon, their much-anticipated new album, A Place To Land, might not be the kind of easy touch down that fans expect from the smooth-voiced foursome. Pumped up by an around the world jaunt (everywhere from Germany to Africa) that was buoyed by the success of their self-titled debut album, the talented songwriters/musicians pack the new effort with driving funk-rock and soulful Rock N' Roll. One critic even hailed the disc's title song as a "joyous, energized call for strength that's well-suited to our challenging times."

What's Dakota Moon's take on their new effort?

"More in your face," says vocalist Malloy. "But it's still reminiscent of the first album only kicked up to ten." From the scorching, double entendre-laced "Keeps Me Comin'", to the bluesy "Lonely Days", Dakota Moon blazes a beat-inspired' great-leap-forward on the new one, reflecting what the band wanted to hear as musicians and as Dakota Moon fans themselves.

"We wanted to hear us more cranked up," says guitarist/vocalist Ty Taylor. "After performing so much together live, we wanted take that magic that happens when we're all in a room just playing acoustic guitar and make it bigger and broader." Like on the anthemic "Let Me Have It", which Ty says is the most balls-out' song on the record. "I guarantee you that you'll be hearing that song in strip bars all over America," he laughs. "It's the kind of song that lets our fans know we're hitting hard this time."

Known as a "band's band," guitarist/vocalist Ty Taylor, vocalist Malloy, bassist/vocalist Ray Artis, and guitarist/vocalist Joe Dean have embroidered their hybrid, soulful style into a signature sound, which has seen them deliver the hit song "A Promise I Make" in the states, and top the charts in territories such as Germany, Spain, and Norway, to name a few.

The group still cites their growth as musicians as a key factor in the tenor of A Place To Land., working closely with producer Andrew Logan (he helmed their debut album) to heighten every aspect of their game. "We just kept raising the energy of our live show," says Joe. "Naturally when we hit the studio we absorbed some of those influences."

Ray accentuates the word "natural". "We respect each other way too much to ever artificially raise the bar," he says. "This was a natural evolution from a band who is learning something new about itself everyday. We were more involved with everything on this record, the writing, the producing, the whole feel of it. Even with a song like Keep Me Comin', which started out as a little idea I had and everyone just joined in."

"I just think that song is nasty," says Ty. "Nasty with an exclamation mark! We had so much fun doing it" Ray laughs: "I'll say this, the teamwork on this album was amazing. On the first album, we just had hints of pop and rock and soul, this album you can feel those flavors pulsing through in a huge way from front to back. "

Every song on A Place To Land strikes its intended chord. The soaring "I'd Be A Fool" mixes Dakota Moon's famous harmonies with a chest-thumping groove, while the guitar-edged "So Good For You" would be right at home on any Best-Of-Rock' collection. "Ray and I were fortunate to work with Jack Blades (formerly of Damn Yankees and Night Ranger) on that one," says Joe. "He was so open minded it was such a great experience."

They also hooked up with Corey Glover from the rock band Living Colour for the scorching "Don't give Up On Me." "He was always one of my idols," says Ray. "I remember being an aspiring musician and just being bowled over when I saw African Americans rocking out. It was a true milestone for me"

Malloy emphasizes that the healthy bit of exploring they did on the new album reflects the band's mantra. "Keep evolving. We say it all the time. You'll never hear anything from this band that sounds like we're chasing some trend. Our music has timeless quality that we're very proud of." You can sense that evolution on the atmospheric "Lonely Days", which features renowned bluesman Keb' Mo'. "He's worked with so many great artists like Bonnie Raitt, and others," says Ty. "He gave that song a good ol' Bayou stomp-your-feet kind of feel. It was great to work with such a legend who many people might not be turned on to yet. It added a whole other dimension to our sound."

But perhaps the ultimate Dakota Moon masterstroke can be found on the album's heart wrenching closer, "My Song", which includes a 23-piece orchestra and chorus. "That was one of the first songs we did when we came off the road," says Joe. Malloy adds that the sweeping range of the track accurately captures the emotion of Dakota Moon. "It just seems to embody the passion and spirit of this band. You get a pretty good understanding of our journey." Ty agrees: "We wanted to end with a song that embodies what we've always been about. Bringing people together."

A Place To Land is Dakota Moon's testament to a mission accomplished.