Black Hen Music
Steve Dawson plays a mean guitar, in this case several guitars actually, from pedal steel, to acoustic to baritone and slide guitar, and even adds in banjo, ukulele and a few other instruments as he puts out a wonderful new instrumental album Telescope.
This CD is a musical exploration of jazz, bluegrass and a few other musical influences, showing that style does indeed mix well in the hands of an accomplished musician.
As musically diverse as Dawson is in his own instrumentation, he is also wise enough here to add in some accomplished musicians to round out the sound, something you will appreciate when you hear the trumpet work of J.P. Carter on the song Keith Lowe, one of three he lends his hand too.
Similarly it's great to hear Steve Marriner add harmonica to Speaker Damage, and Brad Turner's trumpet on 1000 Year Old Egg.
In the case of Speaker Damage you have one of the most experimental sounding pieces on the CD, although Dawson never pushes it so far as to separate it from the musical whole of Telescope.
With the blend of instruments from both jazz and bluegrass, the overall sound comes off as a blend, most clearly heard in a song like Chris Gestrin, and you know while you might not think the two have anything in common, it works amazingly well.
You will immediately appreciate the fresh approach, with the overall CD coming off as a unique musical experience.
It is to be hoped Dawson continues to explore this unusual musical duality, because on Telescope at least, it proves to be fertile new territory worth delving into more deeply.
This is one CD worth searching out by both jazz and bluegrass fans for its extraordinary melding of the two styles, and by other music fans simply because this is a great instrumental album.
You can follow this musician's career at www.stevedawson.ca or www.blackhenmusic.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Aug. 27, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada