“I stuck a Neumann M49 microphone (that had been hanging from the rafters of a church in Detroit for 50 years) in front of me to yield these results. No overdubs or effects. Just some fingers, slides and guitars,” writes artist Steve Dawson in the liner notes of his latest album “Rattlesnake Cage,” released on the Black Hen Music label.
On this go-round, the 7-time Juno Award-winning Canadian artist and producer has dedicated an entire CD to original guitar instrumentals. Recorded in his native Vancouver, British Columbia, these 11 solo-penned-and-performed pieces are a tour de force acoustic showing of his distinctive blend of blues, folk and ragtime.
Dawson’s National steel slides are knocking with delta spunk on his title track, and he revels in the richness of an instrument’s resonance on “Lighthouse Avenue.” His ragtime is sweet and lively on “The Medicine Show Comes To Avalon,” and the organic, up-tempo deliveries infuse a fresh energy into a worn, vintage vibe. Somehow, his tracks are stripped canvases, yet impossibly full.
Dawson only recently hangs his hat in Nashville, but sounds like he’s lived in the American south all of his days.