"Four stars...[Dukes'] melodies are hook-laden but intricate. If forced to choose between a major or minor chord, Dare always chooses the less obvious and more interesting latter...Like [Vic] Chestnutt, he shows a deep affinity for the strangeness and eccentricities in people. The people in Dukes' songs are not losers per se; they are just different, kind of like we all are. And Dukes loves them for that, which makes it very easy to in turn love Dukes."
—Al Kaufman, Atlanta Music Guide, December 10, 2008
"There seems to be growing energy and optimism among independent musicians around town. We're witnessing the maturation of venues, a burst of creativity from performers with a wide range of styles, and more frequent visits from some topnotch regional and national acts. Dare Dukes has been one of the drivers behind these movements since settling in Savannah a few years ago. I find Dukes' music both cerebral and emotional—an intense combination.”
—Bill Dawers, Savannah Morning News, May 5, 2010
"Dare Dukes impresses me with original, creative, open minded rock with a touch of alternative folk and a nice underground sound. Must be bought!"
—Eelco Schilder, Folk World (Europe), March 2010
"Influenced by such varied personalities as the formidable Kurt Weill, throaty Tom Waits, and the post-punk Pixies, this young Californian has come onto the musical scene somewhere between folk, social-issue pop, and poetic rock with an album that’s rich—but way too short. In 30 minutes Dukes gives us a glimpse of a talent that seems limitless and leaves the listener hungry for more. Dukes' compositions are deeply reflective of a uniquely American life, where the sane and the crazy co-exist. His songs take advantage of a pleasingly disorienting musical richness (including strings and brass) and varied rhythms, accompanying an especially acid yet plaintive voice. Let’s hope that the next album will confirm this very positive first impression!"
—Le Cri du Coyote Magazine (France), February 2010
"Dare Dukes' latest album is a striking combination of chiming REM-esque alt.rock and minimalist acoustica. An aching exploration of modern Americana, Prettiest Transmitter of All is a stunning piece of work from the Savannah-based songsmith.
—R2 Magazine (United Kingdom), December 2009
"Best of 2008"
—Lithuim Radio, December 20, 2008
—Snob's Music Blog, December 5, 2008
—Wildy's World, December 25, 2008
"One of the best we've heard all year."
—Insomnia Radio, December 10, 2008
"...an intimate-feeling guitar-led record with well-placed accessories, lyrical heft and finely-balanced melodies. Full of well-produced and air-worthy songs, it deserves wide attention."
—Orlando Montoya, Georgia Public Broadcasting, February 1, 2009
"...passionately sung, and loaded with inventive instrumental arrangements, surprising melodic twists, and multiple layers of wonderful, shimmery guitar work. And it rocks out, too. A joy to listen to."
—Dave Mandl, WFMU-FM DJ; Music Editor for The Brooklyn Rail
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Dare Dukes' songs are a striking combination of incisive intelligence and sweet, doleful hooks. Looking past the shiny surfaces of American life, the Savannah, GA-based singer-songwriter chronicles the everyday world, mining the margins for the eccentric characters and bizarre events that are the heart of his music.
Born and raised in the exurb of San Jose, California, Dare grew up as the state blossomed into what he calls, "exit-ramp culture"—a maze of smoked-glass franchises and cookie-cutter subdivisions that took root along the vast network of interstate freeways. "Everyone knows the clichés about suburbia: It's a stark, sanitized landscape, pretty much soulless,” Dare explains. “No one needs to remind us of that. I'm more interested in the poetry I see there--the weirdness, the anomalies, the resistance. Even in this unlikely grid you can find courageous people and precious things."
Moving to Minneapolis in his twenties, Dare began playing music as bands like Soul Asylum, Babes in Toyland, and the Jayhawks were emerging to define that city's post-Replacements sound. Influenced by seminal post-punk groups like the Pixies and Fugazi, and musical raconteurs like Tom Waits and Kurt Weill, Dare fronted the Penelopes, a frenetic quartet that was a fixture in the city's rock clubs. After moving to New York City, Dare took a hiatus from music to focus on writing and theater, but began playing out again, backed by friends and expert musicians Mark Boquist and Paul Garisto. This collaboration led to the bulk of the arrangements for the songs Dare produced for Prettiest Transmitter of All.
"America is a crazy, scary, and fascinating landscape," Dare says. "The reality is a lot more interesting to me than what the nightly news depicts. The way I see it, it's a place filled with eccentric characters, all on their own strange mission--some nuts, some saner than the rest of us. These missions, these people, they are what my music is about."
Dare Dukes is currently recording his second record, due for release in spring 2011.
Dare Dukes’s tracks