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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Steve Dawson - I Will Miss The Trumpets And The Drums

Steve Dawson - I Will Miss The Trumpets And The Drums
2010, 2009 Kernel Sound Recordings/Undertow Music

As leader singer and songwriter of Dolly Varden, Steve Dawson has toured the world many times over. While continuing his association with Dolly Varden, Dawson has taken to a much more intimate style of performing as a solo artist in the past several years. Dawson's latest solo project, I Will Miss The Trumpets And Drums, reflects the roots of a life spent in music. You'll hear the bright rock/folk sounds of his native California, the country music of his Idaho youth and the soul, funk and R&B of his adult life in Chicago. The Berklee College Of Music graduate flies solo on much of I Will Miss The Trumpets And Drums, but features a crack band consisting of Frank Rosaly (drums); Jason Adasiewicz (vibraphone); Josh Berman (cornet); Joel Patterson (pedal steel) and Jason Roebke (bass).

I Will Miss The Trumpets And The Drums opens with “Obsidian” in a wonderfully full Americana arrangement filled with gorgeous vocal harmonies in a Blue Rodeo meets Crosby Stills & Nash effect. “Long Overdue” is a pensive, regretful tune that displays shades of Paul Simon’s early solo material. It’s a nice, low-key tune with a gorgeous melody line and a simple arrangement built around the acoustic guitar. “A Conversation With Myself” is a bit more mundane but still a pretty, pleasant tune. Things get a bit odd on “Mastodon”, a rambling story-song touching on dinosaurs, aliens and emotions that rise again. Intriguing in spite of its oddity, the song features an acoustic arrangement with spacey, ethereal airs. On “Today She Found The Way To Break My Heart” Dawson heads for the country with a solid Americana theme that nicely walks the line between roots rock and country.

It’s here that the wheels come off the wagon, so to speak. Up to this point I Will Miss The Trumpets And The Drums is a solid to plus album. Dawson manages to package the weakest material of the album over the next five tracks. The highlight in this stretch is the gospel-tinged “I Wish That I Could Believe In You Again”, but if Dawson had excised these songs he’d have a top notch album on his hands. Things pick up again by the time Dawson gets to “Waiting”, a pretty tune that explores the dichotomy of hope and hopelessness. It’s the best songwriting on the album and the sort of tune that will touch listeners deeply. “Goodbye” is a pleasant last call that leads into the contemplative night club number, “It’s Not What You Think”, a pleasant closer that eases you out the door like a seasoned bartender with a deft touch.

Steve Dawson has some very good moments on I Will Miss The Trumpets And The Drums. The album is probably five songs too long; a cut that would have turned the collection from a good one into a great one. Nevertheless, the material is here that makes Dawson’s opus a worthwhile destination for your ears. I Will Miss The Trumpets And The Drums is worth the trip.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

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1 comment:

Cindy / Aka Chymecindy said...

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