Before recording his second solo album, Dispatch co-founder Chadwick Stokes took a batch of in-progress songs on the road — and into people’s homes. Stokes’ 2013 Living Room Tour is where the singer-songwriter workshopped much of what would become “The Horse Comanche” for small groups of die-hard fans. “It was somewhat familiar from my high school days, just playing guitar at bonfires and stuff like that,” says Stokes, 38. “It didn’t seem out of the ordinary, really.” Ahead of the record’s Feb. 3 release, Stokes and a five-piece backing band will hit the Hamilton on Tuesday armed with new songs, Dispatch dorm room staples and tracks from Stokes’ punky, political side project State Radio.
How’s the new stuff sound live?
Pretty good. Some are hard to re-create from the studio because [after] the living room, it becomes this huge thing and now we’re trying to re-create the studio [versions]. The journey of a song is kind of fun.
You’re mixing the new songs with Dispatch and State Radio fan favorites, which is new.
It’s interesting to see how they all play together. You can tell that the early Dispatch songs are quite simple compared to some of the newer stuff.
Do you ever think to yourself, “I can’t believe I’m still doing songs I wrote when I was 18?”
I totally think that with the old songs, but I don’t mind it. State Radio didn’t play any Dispatch songs, so it was good to be in a different band and have a different identity, but with this project, for the first time, we’re playing all across the catalog.
Dispatch has reunited off-and-on since the band’s 2004 split. Are there plans to make another record?
I think so. I think we’ll start working on that next year.
What about State Radio?
State Radio is on hiatus now. That will probably be the next project after Dispatch.
How do you distinguish between the projects?
Anything that’s lots of riffs and rocking and really political usually is State Radio. Dispatch is stuff that, I guess, is a little bit more straight-ahead and campfire-y. The solo stuff is kind of quirky and long and a little bit weirder. Total indulgence.
You also do charity work with your organization Calling All Crows. Tell me about its mission.
We seek to join bands and fans in favor of social change to do service projects. We’ve been doing fundraising for refugees in and around Syria and we’ve been doing these programs on this tour where we get together before the show with a refugee … and we talk about the refugee system in this country and what it’s like to be driven from your home.
Three men proposed to their girlfriends during Living Room Tour shows. Did you know about them beforehand?
I did for two of them. It’s nerve-wracking for me. I just don’t want to forget. [You have to] stop the show at an appropriate time so it’s everything that he or she wanted.
Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW; Tue., 7:30 p.m., $15-$21.