CDBaby.com - Telescope
If an artist is going to make an instrumental album and expect people to listen to it as something other than background music, it had better be darn interesting. Thank god Steve Dawson was aware of that when making this album. Telescope is full of sonic subtleties in the mix that encourage (if not demand) close and repeated listens. As you listen, you can practically hear the band around you, and you're placed in the middle of the room as the four-piece band weaves jazz, folk, rock and country elements together, enveloping your senses. It's a wonderful thing. Upright bass, organ, drum kit, and Dawson's highly evocative pedal steel guitar work as a seamless tapestry of musical genres that are hinted at, played around, and finally explored, to varying degrees. From the lazy western swing of "Chris Gestrin", to the hip-hopped folk-funk of "Speaker Damage", this album gets it right. The mood of the album is cheerful but inquisitive, with enough melancholy to satisfy Willie Nelson fans. Bill Frisell and Daniel Lanois are likely influences, but Dawson isn't derivative; this album is fresh and original, while respecting the genres that paved the way for it.