I have reviewed several recordings featuring Steve Dawson in the past, and have always marvelled at the blues authenticity in his guitar playing – so it was a real joy to receive this all instrumental set which duly serves to confirm that Dawson is one of the premier acoustic guitar-meisters of his generation.
Playing a Jumbo Larivee, a Weissenborn, a National Tricone and a Taylor 12-String all played through an ancient Neumann M49 microphone, Dawson brings the unusual titles of his blues to life with artistry that paints sonic pictures encompassed in the sounds he elicits from the strings of his guitars. Just listen to the thoughtfully melancholy picking on “Blind Thomas At The Crime Scene” – the raggedy slide on “Flophouse Oratory” – the slithering slide that is both hypnotically enticing and menacing on “Rattlesnake Cage” – or the lilting picking on “The Medicine Show Comes To Avalon” to see what I mean.
I could also highlight the flitting slide on “Butterfly Stunt” with its shades of Blind Willie McTell – the throbbing inquisitiveness of “J.R. Lockley’s Dilemna” – the sleazy “Chunky” – the rollicking joyousness of “The Altar At Center Raven” – or in fact any track that I have missed – as each contributes equally to a wonderful set of blues.