Celebrated Nashville-based rock band Dashboard Confessional has exploded back onto the scene with its first album of new material in four years. Helmed by frontman, songwriter and founder Chris Carrabba, the group recently released their ninth studio album, All The Truth That I Can Tell, via Hidden Note Records/AWAL.
Since making their debut in 2000 with their acclaimed The Swiss Army Romance, Dashboard Confessional has spent more than 20 years as an influential force in the pop punk and rock genres. With hits such as “Screaming Infidelities,” “We Fight,” “Vindicated,” “Hands Down,” and more, the band has returned with their signature blend of vulnerable, honest and relatable lyrics laced over hard-hitting production.
“[This album] was not a four year writing process itself. As it works for me, and probably like every songwriter, you’re writing songs all the time. You’re probably writing many records worth of songs, and then, for a brief window, you write a bunch of songs that make sense to each other,” Carrabba tells MusicRow. “I found myself in that kind of window and I knew, ‘Okay, not only am I making the record, but I’m finally making the record I’ve been hoping to make since my second album, The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most, came out in 2001.’ I’ve been waiting a long time for this specific brand of introspection. It’s very hard to come by, even when you commonly trade in introspection as a songwriter.”
All The Truth That I Can Tell came about from a relatively intense writing process. First taking shape through a transformative moment in a Manchester greenroom in the UK, Carrabba felt the full creative force of the album in the fall of 2019. As he notes, he wrote the entirety of the 11-track record in the span of about 10 days, with the exception of one or two songs.
“It was the kind of thing when a creative person finds themself deep in the wave,” he explains. “When a creative person finds themself there, I think they probably discover that it’s after many years of waiting for the right wave. When someone finds themself there, that’s when they just ride it out for all it’s worth, which was the case for me.”
The first song came when he had woken up in the middle of the night. Pattering over to his guitar, a song rushed out. Hunkering down, he began to repeat the same daily routine, down to waking up at 3 a.m. each day. “I was waking up at a time when the world doesn’t seem real on some level and you feel like you’re the only one in it because everybody’s sleeping. It’s this long, fruitful isolation, for lack of a better word.”
For the album’s production, the group tapped longtime collaborator John Paul Wiser who produced the band’s first two albums, which Carrabba credits as his most personal and profound projects to date. Since those early years, Carrabba shares that he has been waiting to be in that same place of honesty and introspection, and he believes with All The Truth That I Can Tell, that’s exactly where he’s landed.
“I would say this record is set apart, or it at least sits in rank with my first two records [in that respect],” he says. “I’ve been hoping and waiting for the kind of songs that I felt in my early days to make their way back to me, which is not a place you can force, apparently. I know from trying that you just have to wait.”
From mapping out how he sees himself, how he sees the world, and more, Carrabba’s hope for the new record is that its songs resonate with his listeners, whether through their experiences or through depth of feeling. Most of all, he hopes that the 11 songs can serve as some kind of shared territory that someone may find useful to their own circumstances.
After over two decades, nine albums, countless shows, two anniversary tours and an immeasurable impact on a generation, Carrabba explains that for him, nothing throughout these twenty years has felt like repetition, but rather a story that continually felt like new chapters in the same book.
“That 20-year span is impressive in a sentence, but it doesn’t feel like that’s what it’s been. It just feels like I’ve been going to the same job I’ve loved every day and hoping that maybe I’ll be lucky enough to still have this job tomorrow or next week,” he explains with a smile. “I remember doing about six shows to celebrate the 10th year anniversary and thinking it was weird, but I didn’t think it was as weird [when we did the 20th anniversary tour]. I thought, ‘Oh, we’re celebrating with the audience being in each other’s lives in some fashion,’ which is genuinely worth celebrating.”
In tandem with the band’s new music, Dashboard Confessional is also gearing up for a busy touring year as they join forces with Jimmy Eat World for their co-headlining “Surviving The Truth Tour.”
Carrabba and the band will also be performing at the sold out “When We Were Young” festival, slated for Oct. 22-24 at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds. Featuring some of the biggest names in the pop punk format, Dashboard Confessional will take the stage alongside My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Avril Lavigne, Bring Me the Horizon, All-American Rejects, We the Kings, and more for the nostalgic weekend event.
“I’m excited because I get to be with all my friends and watch them all be celebrated, some of them in a way that I know they haven’t had the opportunity to be or haven’t felt in a long time,” Carrabba shares.
“I’m a pop punk kid and an emo kid, so you will see me out there in the audience,” he sums. “You won’t only see me on stage or side stage. I will be out there, as I often do, watching the bands with the people I feel most like, which are the people on that side of the barricade.”
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