Sometimes it’s best to just put up a microphone in a room, sit down and play your guitar...
This is the record that Steve Dawson’s growing number of fans have been waiting for. Rattlesnake Cage finally gives them the opportunity to hear Steve interact with his guitar in a way that has never been cap- tured on record before.
Until now, hearing the sweet melodies and deep soul of Steve playing solo guitar has been a treat reserved for live audiences in intimate settings. These new simple and unadorned recordings hearken back to the American Primitive sound that John Fahey and other artists such as Peter Lang and Leo Kottke recorded on Fahey’s iconic Takoma record label in the ‘60s — instrumental music informed by the deep traditions of blues, ragtime, jazz and even Hawaiian music, but taking those influ- ences in unexpected directions. The opening track, ‘Blind Thomas at the Crime Scene’ which takes its title from Fahey’s earliest nom de plume is the recording that most clearly communicates Dawson’s respect for the American Primi- tive aesthetic, and gives the listener the clearest indication of what’s to come.
“Anyone who can hear Dawson play and not be moved is made of stone!” — Penguin Eggs Magazine.
“One magazine hasreferred to Steve Daw- son as the T-Bone Bur- nett of Canada. I tend to think of him more as a Canadian version of Ry Cooder ... his fine slide guitar and sto- rytelling, everything seeming to flow effort- lessly.” — Toledo Blade.
Recorded with a single vintage tube microphone that had recently been rescued from decades of hang- ing from the ceiling rafters of an old the- atre in Detroit, you can hear every detail and nuance of each note.
The effect of hearing a recording this open and pure is quite astounding. After countless successes in the industry both as a performer and produc- er in his native Canada (including seven Juno Awards as an artist and producer), Steve has relocated to Nashville to begin a new chapter in his career.
The fluidity of Steve’s playing makes what he does sound so effortless that it’s easy to forget that it takes years of disciplined practice to achieve such an apparent simplicity.
There are lots of guitar virtuosos out there who can reel off a diz- zying array of notes at lightning speed, and Dawson can certainly do that, but at a cer- tain point, great players like him realize that sometimes less is more.