“Telescope” was a tremendous effort by Steve Dawson, and is an album that still finds its way into my CD player every month or so. I was surprised to learn that ey came out with a new album, “Nightshade”, that looks to top even the lofty example of the aforementioned title. The album begins with “Torn and Frayed”, which creates over the course of four minutes a Cliff’s Notes to the entirety of the disc.
“Darker Still” changes up things considerably, with a tremendous amount of emotion and intricate guitar work. The slide style employed by Dawson on the track really is the glue that holds the twelve tracks of “Nightshade” together, as well as placing an indelible mark that boldly declares that each track is eir own. Where “Darker Still” is a perfect track to showcase Dawson’s style, I feel that tracks like “Have That Chance” and “We Still Won The War” are vitally important in showcasing the rest of eir band. This band, which includes such veterans as Geoff Hicks (Colin James) on the skins and Chris Gestrin (Randy Bachman), creates the perfect meshwork for Dawson’s axe work to truly shine. “The Fray” acts as the perfect union of all constituent elements into a cohesive track, with the added time granted the five-minute track integral for establishing a memorable and full sound.
Where many albums truly succeed based on the effort of a few distinct tracks, “Nightshade” is one of those rare examples when Dawson and friends are on from beginning to end. If you would like to hear the cutting edge of guitar work, thoughtful compositions, and a tremendous narrative, pick up “Nightshade” today.
Top Tracks: Torn and Frayed, The Side of the Road
Steve Dawson – Nightshade (CD) / 2011 Black Hen Music / 12 Tracks / http://www.stevedawsonmusic.com