The Alternate Root
Steve Dawson has offered a how-to guide to recording 101 on his new album, Rattlesnake Cage. Steve’s advice? Put a microphone up in a room, sit down and play your guitar. Rattlesnake Cage was recorded on a single (vintage) tube microphone recently rescued from decades of hanging in the dusty rafters of an old Detroit, MI theatre. The recording process can find lineage from releases on the Takoma Records label. Label owner, John Fahey, crated a catalog of instrumental music dubbed the American Primitive sound, featuring artists such as Fahey, Peter Lang and Leo Kottke. The music held tastes of Blues, Jazz, Ragtime and Hawaiian music. Steve Dawson offers a double gift, giving listeners the album that have been waiting for somewhat patiently, and honoring the American Primitive tradition with his obvious respect for the genre.
Rattlesnake Cage opens with “Blind Thomas at the Crime Scene”, the name nodding to an alter-ego name tag that John Fahey used in his early years. The tune shows Steve’s love and understanding of the music and confidently sets the bar for the album’s tracks. “The Medicine Show Comes To Avalon” has a cotton-candy midway feel and bounce, “Butterfly Stunt” flaps its wings to a Blues rhythm and “The Flagpole Skater Laughs From Above” won’t get a chuckle but will receive a head nod and smile from the finger-picking flashes that fly through the song. Canadian-based Steve Dawson is a top end producer and player. Rattlesnake Cage lets its focus fall on Steve’s playing and the album shows track after track what a good choice that was to make.