Steve Dawson Nightshade

Steve DawsonNightshade
Dawson is justifiably an in-demand producer for such roots-based artist as Jim Byrnes, Kelly Joe Phelps, Old Man Luedecke, the Sojourners and the Deep Dark Woods. He also finds time to run the Black Hen label and put out solo albums pretty regularly. His fine 2008 effort, Telescope, was all-instrumental, based around his pedal steel playing. On Nightshade, he delivers a more conventional roots rock record, but one that's equally charming. There is nothing particularly distinctive about Dawson's voice, but his relaxed, languid delivery proves a fine complement to this tuneful, well-crafted original material. Dawson shines on acoustic, electric, steel, national and weissenborn guitars, and his band feature such top Vancouver, BC players as Chris Gestrin, Keith Lowe and Geoff Hicks. The sublime voice of Jill Barber is featured on three songs, with Alice Dawson and Jeanne Tolmie adding harmonies elsewhere. On first listen, the album is almost too laidback to register, but its subtle strengths kick in with further spins. This will go down a treat with a cold beer on a warm day. (Black Hen)