Steve Dawson – I Will Miss The Trumpets and the Drums

January 01, 1970

(Undertow)

www.undertowmusic.com

 

This, the second solo album by guitarist Steve Dawson – the
third if you count his collaboration with singer Diane Christiansen — is a
gently sublime affair, one that rarely raises the volume above a whisper but
still manages to make a gilded impression regardless. Dawson, whose day job
finds him at the helm of the Chicago Americana outfit Dolly Varden, is a master
when it comes to crafting gently engaging melodies and supple musings, songs
that are pretty and appealing without coming to any real crescendo. The
trumpets and the drums certainly don’t make the mix, but other accompaniment
does – the violins that ease the slow glide through “Know Now” and bolster the
vibrant “Goodbye,” the strings that gird the ache of “Mastodons,” the lonely
cornet affirming the quiet drift of “It’s Not What You Think” and the clarinets
that spark the jaunty title track.

 

Truth be told, this is one of those albums that needs more
than an initial listen to spark a connection in the frontal lobes before making
full impact, due to Dawson’s tendency to amble at his own pace. The austere
arrangements and an unhurried attitude make “mellow” the operative word here,
but it’s that general air of dreaminess that helps bolster its charm.  Nevertheless, opening track “Obsidian” makes
enough of an emphatic impression to suggest Dawson can craft a catchy hook when
he sets his mind to it, an impression further bolstered by the equally amiable
“A Conversation With No One” and the relatively resilient “Preaching to the
Choir.”  The end result is an album of
low-lit wattage that still manages to burn brightly.

 

Standout Tracks: “Obsidian,” “A Conversation With No One,” “Preaching to the Choir” LEE
ZIMMERMAN

 

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