BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
A multiple Juno Award winner in his native Canada, guitarist Steve Dawson boasts a mighty impressive resume. Yet despite a production roster that includes such notables as Jim Byrnes, Kelly Joe Phelps, Old Man Luedecke, The Sojourners, and The Deep Dark Woods, it’s Dawson’s reputation as a multifaceted guitarist that’s reaped him the bulk of his awards and accolades.
As if to assert that status, Rattlesnake Cage foregoes vocals entirely and offers instead a series of solo instrumentals that spotlight his skills in a variety of acoustic settings. Fluid and assertive, lively and sprightly, songs like “Blind Thomas at the Crime Scene,” “J.R. Lockley’s Dilemma” and “Flophouse Oratory” adhere to a traditional folk template that all but assures authenticity. Dawson’s agility is remarkable to say the least, and despite the lack of additional embellishment, the music comes across as rich and riveting. Lacking the singing and the sweetening, some might think that a little goes a long way. Nevertheless, in terms of fretwork and finesse, Dawson truly dazzles.
DOWNLOAD: “Blind Thomas at the Crime Scene,” “J.R. Lockley’s Dilemma,” “Flophouse Oratory”