Video Premiere: Steve Dawson “Polaroid”

Photo credit: Laura E. Partain

What a privilege it is to watch the talented players in the live studio recording of the latest single from Nashville-based Canadian Steve Dawson.  Dawson’s easy voice is lifted by the soothing tones of Jeremy Holmes’ bass and Krystal Dos Santos’s backing vocals.  Most striking of all is Dawson himself, truly captivating on his Weissenborn, his notes slipping and sliding in hypnotic flourishes.

Dawson told AUK about the song: “This is a song I wrote with my pandemic co-writer, Matt Patershuk. I was in Nashville the whole time and he was up in Grande Prairie, Alberta. This was a song which Matt had the bulk of lyrics for already and I fit them to an idea I had for a progression and melody. I liked how the song came together with the sparse instrumentation and sense of space in the arrangement, which suits the quality of Matt’s abstract lyrics about the qualities of a photograph and how it ties to memory. I think the qualities of the instruments adds to the mysterious sound as well – Joachim’s mbira and the hollow-necked Weissenborn I’m playing all give it an antique kind of sound. This performance was captured live in a studio in Vancouver with the band I tour with these days – Jeremy Holmes on bass, Joachim Cooder on drums, and Darryl Havers on keyboards. We were able to augment the band with Liam MacDonald on very vibe percussion and Krystal Dos Santos on vocals. Allison Russell sings on the album version for this one as well.”

The song will appear on Dawson’s forthcoming album, ‘Eyes Closed, Dreaming’.  Unbelievably, considering the continued quality of his output, this is the third album from Dawson in the space of a year, following on from ‘Gone, Long Gone’ and ‘Phantom Threshold’.  His work is remarkably consistent across these three ‘pandemic albums’.  The high standard and warm feel remains, despite the lockdown restrictions – with each individual musician’s part being contributed remotely from Nashville, Los Angeles, Toronto and Vancouver.  The album features the talents of many great artists, including label-mate Matt Patershuk, who co-wrote ‘Polaroid’, and Dawson’s Birds of Chicago partner Allison Russell.  Along with four original compositions, ‘Eyes Closed, Dreaming’ also demonstrates Dawson’s talent for taking classic songs, interpreting them and making them his own with masterful arrangements and beautiful performances.

The album is certainly something to look forward to and this taster is essential viewing – a masterful masterclass in composition and performance.  Enjoy.

About Andrew Frolish 1441 Articles
From up north but now hiding in rural Suffolk. An insomniac music-lover. Love discovering new music to get lost in - country, singer-songwriters, Americana, rock...whatever. Currently enjoying Nils Lofgren, Ferris & Sylvester, Tommy Prine, Jarrod Dickenson, William Prince, Frank Turner, Our Man in the Field...
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