The Vancouver Sun
The Vancouver-based duo Zubot and Dawson waste no time getting down to business on their new record, Chicken Scratch. The opening track, "Ed's Wake", takes us for a rhythmic ride, the acoustic instruments rising and falling like waves upon a shoreline. On "Shame About It", Jesse Zubot does some nifty mandolin playing to go with his fiddle work, while Steve Dawson bends and shapes notes on his Weissenborn (a kind of Hawaiian guitar). During "Boomer's Hill Road", the latter getting a solid contribution from trumpeter Brad Turner.
Bluesman Kelly Joe Phelps provides soulful vocals on Robert Johnson's "Hellhounds On My Trail" and John Martyn's "May You Never", two of just three tracks not written by its band members. Zubot plays wonderful fiddle on "King of America" which, like so many of the tracks, would easily belong on a road-movie soundtrack.
The able supporting cast includes Andrew Downing on bass, Elliot Polsky on percussion, and Chris Gestrin on keyboards and accordian.