“It’s a love song at its core, but it’s also about symmetry and cycles,” says Deslondes bassist Dan Cutler about “Dunes,” a standout track from the New Orleans quintet’s third album, Ways & Means, out July 8 on New West. “But the song takes a crooked form—like in love.”
Featuring appearances by Margo Price and Twain, Ways & Means adheres to the all-inclusive roots philosophy that’s taken the Deslondes down multiple paths over the past decade, including gospel, bluegrass, rock, country, folk and R&B. It’s all there on Ways & Means—but band’s retro-leaning sound has found increased focus and refinement with the help of producer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray For The Riff Raff).
Writing “Dunes” came relatively easily for Cutler. But getting the wistful, echoey vibe the Deslondes were looking for in the studio was a bit of a bear. “It took some studio magic on Andrija’s part to get it sounding right,” says Cutler, noting that the story ends where it starts—much like in the video, which was directed by Joshua Shoemaker.
“One of my favorite things to do is to pull off an elaborate one-shot with an artist or band,” says Shoemaker, who’s worked with Hurray For The Riff Raff, Faye Webster, Benjamin Booker and others. “We decided to go for three one-shots back-to-back so we could tell a larger story. ‘Dunes’ is the first act—a really fun piece that involves a lot of patient people in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans. The setting coming to life was only possible with the help of locals like Ashley Hooper—who lives at the mansion we filmed at—associate producer Camille Weatherford and director of photography Hennen Payne.”
The night of filming was downright festive, with friends and family joining in the revelry, which ended with percussionist Cameron Snyder knocking guitarist Riley Downing into the pool. “A bunch of little kids waited very patiently all night to see that happen,” says Cutler. “And speaking of symmetry, the video begins with Riley and I playing left-handed. Rye isn’t left-handed, but my bass was—so that’s how he played it.”
We’re proud to premiere the video for “Dunes” today at MAGNET.