"Combining the tried and true elements of American blues and folk music with other sonic experiments, Zubot and Dawson have nicknamed their patented blend of influences 'Strang'. Their first release in 1998, appropriately entitled 'strang', garnered critical acclaim here in Canada as well as abroad (including an Estonia bluegrass magazine). They refine their musical voice with a follow-up release, 'Tractor Parts: Further Adventures in Strang'.
Jesse Zubot and Steve Dawson first came to national recognition with the band 'The Spirit Merchants'. Zubot's fiddle playing and Dawson's slide guitar fit well with the band's southern rock and roots sound. The unit toured relentlessly in Canada and the States. During this time, the pair began to write original music for a side project that ended up as 'Strang'. On it, the two were able to showcase their incredible musicianship and improvisational skills, earning them a Juno nomination. On 'Tractor Parts', they are able to take it to new levels.
The two possess a musical maturity that belies their young age. In addition to Zubot's fiddle prowess he also turns in burning mandolin tracks. Dawson is free to explore his amazing versatility and includes excellent resonator slide playing, using several different and rare guitars from his considerable collection. Rounding out the sound is bassist Marlow Holder and drummer/percussionist Eliiot Polsky, the latter who captures perfect roots grooves. Special guests abound on the recording including Brad Turner and Chris Tarry (Metalwood), and Veda Hille.
The engineering and recording are such that you feel you are in the same cabin at Whistler Mountain where the album was recorded, surrounded by the band - kudos to engineer Shawn Pierce. You'd think that with this kind of talent, things would turn into a game of one-upmanship but the assembled crew focuses abilities on song development instead of hot-dogging. On the strength of the new album, Zubot and Dawson are preparing for international acclaim. They now have their own label, Black Hen Music, and have spent this spring and summer touring. This fall sees them heading to Europe to spread the word of Tractor Parts and 'Strang' to the world.