I first came across Steve Dawson through Dolly Varden (what’s in a name) who’s last three releases are firm favourites and I would highly recommend them, you can check the bands full back catalogue here, I Will Miss The Trumpets and the Drums is Steve’s second solo album but the first I’ve had the pleasure of listening too.
The lead off track from the album entitled Obsidian is an engaging opener – a lovely slice of pop-soul with guitar, organ and pedal steel combining with Dawson’s smooth soul laden vocal, here’s the track showcased on YouTube.
Much of the album was created by Dawson working solo in his Chicago studio and it has been put together beautifully with a eye for detail, splashes of pedal steel, vibraphone and violin carefully blended with guitar and keyboards, there’s a range of styles on display here, from the acoustic solo Long Overdue to the catchy retro-pop soul of Goodbye, the quality shines throughout and Steve’s one man band approach yields further highlights on A Conversation With No One and the bitter-sweet soul of Today She Found The Way To Break My Heart – on which Steve provides all of the instrumentation guitars, keyboards and percussion.
Another favourite track of mine from the collection is Mastadons * where acoustic bass, vibraphone, guitar and strings combine in an eerie dream-scape, check out the video animation below which is a collaboration with his wife and fellow band member in Dolly Varden, Diane Christiansen, the couple have also recorded a duets album that’s available from both iTunes and eMusic. Diane is a talented singer-songwriter as well as an accomplished artist and this animation is part of a larger work called ‘Notes To Nonself’ which has showcased at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago. (The video here is best viewed full screen)
Elsewhere on the album support comes from a talented bunch of Chicago based musicians – Frank Rosaly (drums), Jason Adasiewicz (vibraphone), Josh Berman (cornet) Joel Paterson (pedal steel) and Jason Roebke (bass) who’s contributions fit seamlessly with Dawson’s – the end result is a wonderful collection of original music, the writings sharp, the melodies memorable, the vocal enriching – all in all its a real aural delight and an instant favourite, the album is released today on Undertow.
Steve and Diane have plans for a new Dolly Varden record and have a couple of songs tracked already, they are hoping to find there way over to Europe in the Autumn, in the meantime you can get yourself sorted with CD’s and downloads here:
Steve Dawson @ eMusic
Coincidently I was finishing the last few chapters of Chuck Klosterman’s Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story, in which he advises to “Watch out for the Mastodons” during a hazy drug induced conversation with a girl in hotel – it’s not everyday you stumble on an extinct mammoth like animal been name checked twice in the space of a few hours (unless you’re a palaeontologist or a metal head I suppose), stumbled on this book a few weeks ago in a second hand shop,if memory serves the reason it caught my attention was the author/book was mentioned in a post by fellow blogger Rockstar Aimz – enjoyed this one a great read and I shall be on the look our for more of Klosterman’s books.