Each year I get at least one, sometimes two fully instrumental albums, of which none are more brilliantly performed than by Steve Dawson, of which, his February 18, 2014 release, "Rattlesnake Cage", has no problem at all proving. "Rattlesnake Cage" is all about Finger Picking, that will absolutely blow you away.
John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
Following Review Excerpt Courtesy Of Bman's Blues Report
I have just received the newest release, Rattlesnake Cage, by Steve Dawson and it's excellent! Opening with Blind Thomas At The Crime Scene Dawson wastes no time showing that clean finger picked acoustic music without a lot of showboating is alive and well. If you like Leo Kottke or Gary Davis, you're bound to appreciate this first number. Excellent! Flophouse Oratory is a fast paced country style blues track on slide acoustic guitar reminiscent again of Kottke. I really like this track and it's clean excellent execution. The Medicine Show Comes To Avalon, a cool rag track with a carousel melody is very sweet and well executed. Swapping over to resonator for Rattlesnake Cage, Dawson retains his finger picking rudiment but is more aggressive as demanded by the instrument and adds a very nice sliding component. Lighthouse Avenue I believe is played on a (Michael Dunn) Weissenborn ... and a sweet melody through such a warm instrument with beautiful harmonics. Butterfly Stunt is really a cool track with a hot mix of swift moving picked riffs and smooth slide riffs again I believe on the Weissenborn. Very nice! While The West Was Won, The Earth Didn't Know It is a roaming soundtrack like theme. It seems to tell it's own story with scenes and views. The finger picking is nicely complimented with slide riffs making it a very interesting journey. J.R. Lockley's Dilemna has a little bit of a Nashville like feel but keeping the with the clean acoustic non "country" style authentic picking and slide riffs. This is another very nice track reminiscent of Kottke near the top pf his game. Very nice. The Flagpole Skater Laughs From Above is masterfully executed on 12 string guitar.There are really not many things as cool as hearing someone who really knows how to manage a 12 string well. The melodic nuances of this track are playful and plentiful. Chunky is a swift slider I believe again on Weissenborn. Played with a lot of feeling and flawless execution it continues to reinforce Dawson's accomplishment as a top acoustic player. The release is wrapped by The Alter At Center Raven, a very cool track with a solid melody. Without saying a word, Steve Dawson says a lot on this release.
If you love acoustic guitar picking especially in the style of Kottke/Lang and John Hurt/Gary Davis, this is a treasure.