Crossroads Blues Society of Northern Illinois

Steve Dawson’s Rattlesnake Cage, released on the Black Hen Music label, contains eleven songs, clocking in at 42 minutes. The sound quality is pristine and full of warmth. Dawson’s playing is a showcase of his years of training to present such dazzling expertise and immense technical ability.

Rattlesnake Cage is a completely acoustic CD featuring only Dawson and his guitar. It's very stunning artistically in it's simplicity. This is music for the soul and soothing to one's ears. Dawson is easily a master guitarist who presents an instrumental CD with a level of expertise that has a certain satisfying flow. Best known to those north of the border as a producer, solo artist and label owner of Black Hen Music, Dawson recently relocated to Nashville. This recording might not be typical of his more song-oriented output, but it’s a wonderful side road. Simplicity because there’s only Dawson, and acoustic guitar(s), all recorded with an ancient tube microphone, res- cued from an old Detroit theater. Dawson accomplished exactly the sound and inter- pretation he intended. Obvious influences from Leo Kottke, John Fahey, Richard Thompson, and Ry Cooder throughout it seems near impossible for two hands to create this much sound. But amazingly, there are no overdubs or editing to create that illusion.

These songs were all written and recorded throughout the latter half of 2013. In between tours and working on albums with other artists. Dawson stuck a Neumann 49 microphone that had been hanging from the rafters of a church in Detroit for 50 years in front of himself to yield these results. No overdubs or effects. Just his fingers, slides, and guitars the likes of a jumbo Larivee, a Weissenborn built by Michael Dunn, a National Tricone, and a Taylor 12 string. Amazing and recommended!

Year: 
2014