Some have dubbed Dawson the "T Bone Burnett of Canada." This lofty praise may actually sell the multi-talented Dawson short. Like Burnett, he is a marvelour producer, but Dawson is a more extraordinarily versatile, expressive string man and as capable a songwriter. With Dawson, it's like getting the combination of T Bone and string man Buddy Miller in one package. As the head of the Black Hen label, he has been a major force behind such notable artists as Jim Byrnes, the Sojourners, Kelly Joe Phelps and the Mississippi Sheiks tribute. This is his fifth solo release and is likely to draw greater attention. Dawson does not disappoint. This wide=ranging, complex batch of songs, often with dark lyrical content, resonates with his searing lap steel, piercing guitar picking and occasional acoustic forays. There are no misses here; some tracks are absolutely riveting. "Darker Still" sets a foreboding tone, the Sheiks cover "Gulf Coast Bay" lightens it up and two slide driven tunes, "Fairweather Friends" and "Slow Turns" showcase Dawson's instrumental mastery. Despite not especially distinctive vocals, Dawson's smartly placed vocal harmonies and superb arrangements make the challenging material seem fluid and easy. This guy is a monster!