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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Black Hen Music artist: Steve Dawson - Solid States and Loose Ends - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Solid States and Loose Ends, from Steve Dawson and it's a smooth integration of blues, country and bluegrass... in other words... very cool! Opening with Loose Ends, a cool, swampy blues funk, Dawson on guitar and vocal is joined by Gary Craig on drums, John Dymond on bass, Kevin McKendree on organ, Jim Hoke on sax, Steve Herrman on trumpet and Regina and Ann McCrary on backing vocal. With solid vocals, really tasty slide, warm horns and cool lower register guitar work, with the hot backing vocals, this track is an excellent opener! Broken Furniture Blues has an upbeat rural rock feel with acoustic guitar picking driving the train. Again Dawson slips in some excellent slide riffs backed by Craig and Dymond. Leave My Name Behind has a really nice Rev Gary Davis feel reinforced by Mike Bub on bass. The choice of resonator on this track with some choice electric guitar riffs, backed by Fats Kaplin on viola, really cool sax work by Jim Hoke and the McCrary sisters vocals makes this one of my favorites on the release. California Saviour is a more laid back pop track with Keri Latimer joining on harmony vocal. Again Dawson's guitar work is really nice with resonator, pedal steel and electric making for a gourmet meal of flavor. On Top Of The World has a real nice Gypsy feel with a European beat, Kaplin on fiddle and Dawson's pedal work. Very nice! Little Silver has a catchy melody but with a country acoustic picked guitar rhythm and Bub and Craig reinforcing the feel. Again Dawson steps up the pedal steel work giving the track a nice kick. Riley's Henhouse Door is a really cool track featuring only Dawson on vocal and acoustic accompaniment. With it's roots in country blues along the lines of Led Belly, this is a super track! Final Words slips back to ward the main stream with a solid rock entry. Dawson is very capable as lead vocalist and with sophisticated bass work and warm organ, Final Words is a strong radio track with crisp slide ornamentation. Very nice! Can't Put That Monkey On My Back is a traditional track with a distinct Ry Cooder feel. Dawson has his own fingerprint and with more of a modern, rock feel, this is a really nice track. McKendree's piano work on the track nicely highlights Dawson's excellent slide work. Another favorite! Early Warning is a spiritually structured track with a light back beat. With the McCrary sisters on backing vocals and McKendree on organ this track is smooth. Dawson's slide technique is really super giving the track great contrast. You Got What It Takes is a hot, lumbering blues track with a simple melody. With throaty electric slide guitar work and a fat compliment of Bari sax from Hoke, this is a really hot track! Driver's Wheel has a rolling country blues feel with Craig providing a light train rhythm and Kaplin's fiddle work laid nicely on Dawson's acoustic picking. Delia, another traditional number, has a distinct country blues feel with light fiddle and acoustic backing. Joined by Keri Latimer on vocals, this track has a simple purity. Wrapping the release is Rose's Blues, an easy paced ballad with an almost Grateful Dead feel. Kaplin on mandolin and organ adds nice texture and Dawson's slide work is always perfect. Nicely blended vocals by Dawson and Latimer makes this a very nice conclusion to a very special release.

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