As I listened to this disc, my Fender acoustic sat quietly in the corner of my music room, judging; “You could sound like this if you practiced once in a while!” Uh no Freddie, no- it takes a lifetime to become this good. Lucky Hand, Steve Dawson’s 8th album, is astounding from start to finish.
Though I’ve heard Dawson’s music previously this feels new, more intense. His approach to slide and finger style guitar is unforced and natural, revealing an embarrassment of musical riches at every turn. The playing is fluid as he uses snatches of musical ideas, from dustbowl history and the Delta blues along with modern touches and nods to players like Leo Kottke and Sonny Landreth.
With Lucky Hand Dawson sketches aural paintings and creates tapestries on his guitar. It was recorded live off the floor with 12 microphones placed around the large studio space, particularly useful on the five cuts that use a string section. I haven’t been this excited by a disc of acoustic instrumentals since first coming across Tommy Emmanuel or Graham Wardrop- both Aussies, by the way. This is an insanely inspiring record.