ALBUM PREMIERE: Dallas Ugly Makes Impressive Debut with Lush Americana Sound on ‘Watch Me Learn’

Photo credit: Kaitlyn Raitz

The music of Dallas Ugly shimmers with an iridescent nostalgia. Built on a foundation of mellow interchanges of electric guitar and pedal steel, the rhythm and flow evoke an old-school country version of lo-fi hip-hop radio. But combined with soaring fiddle and heartfelt vocals, it becomes something wholly new – a sound as unique as it is dreamy.

Listening to Watch Me Learn – their debut album produced by Alec Spiegelman (Cuddle Magic, Ana Egge, Taylor Ashton) – these various influences and changes can be heard in the melodies and stories they weave. The lyrics are steeped in a sweet nostalgia, full of reverent appreciation for the bumpy paths that led to where they are now. “When you’re moving around all the time and you’re following opportunities as they arise, you just see all these different lives that you could have led. You’re nostalgic for paths that you didn’t take, for the life that you could have led if you had made different choices,” says Burton. These themes lend themselves naturally to the rolling country music vibes of their melodies and instrumentation – together, the band presents a dreamy, last-call rendition of three chords and the truth. If you close your eyes, you can practically feel yourself slow dancing under the lazy orbit of a disco ball at midnight.

The album explores the missed adventures and misadventures of life in your early twenties – mistakes being made, lessons being learned, bonds being formed and broken as you grow into the person you are meant to be. The band explores these themes with fondness and love, a gentle empathy for the inner child they’ve left behind. But more than anything else, they explore them together. “I hope that what people take away from the album is an emotional response – take away the feeling of having just caught up with some old friends in a very intimate experience,” says Weitnauer. After all, that’s what the album was to them: a way to reconnect with old friends after time apart – sharing the stories of the hardships and triumphs that led them back to each other. It’s an album that in part looks back on the journeys and evolutions we make as individuals, but also looks towards the communities and people who shape our lives in equal measure. With the gift of hindsight, we can better understand each other and ourselves. It is a gift that Dallas Ugly has chosen to share: a chance to let go of ego and choose to connect across the differences of time and space. And that is a beautiful gift indeed.

Today Glide is sharing an exclusive premiere of the album, which is out on all platforms. The album finds the group fusing their charming vocal harmonies with a sound that carves out its own place somewhere in between folk, Americana, and alt-country with a touch of classical lushness. What makes this album so impressive is the way each member seems to bring their own talent to the spotlight while still creating a sound that is clearly the sum of all parts. Layering in soulful organ, twangy guitar solos, fiddle and quiet, shuffling drum beats throughout gives the songs a warm and wise quality that is truly infectious. The band balances moments of lyrical seriousness with more light-hearted fare to showcase their dynamic songwriting approach. Ultimately, Watch Me Learn is a truly strong debut that feels like these friends has been playing together their whole lives. 

“Every choice we made with Watch Me Learn was driven by the vision of creating intimacy with the listener. From the arrangements to the production choices to its quirky mixing style, we kept in mind the sonic goals of warmth and closeness. We had stories to tell each other from years apart, and we wanted to pull whoever heard the album into that space with us.” – Libby Weitnauer

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