An accomplished guitarist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer — and his band — are stopping by the Sacred Heart Parish Hall next week as part of Kicking Horse Culture’s LIVE Kicks series.
You may know Steve Dawson from seeing him play a gig years ago as The Spirit Merchants, or maybe with violinist Jesse Zubot in a band called Zubot and Dawson. What you might not know is that Dawson produced records for contemporary Canadian musicians like the Deep Dark Woods and Ndidi Onukwulu, and he’s amassed a total of five Juno awards for both his own music and the records he has produced.
Dawson is about to release his latest album —Nightshade—under his own record label, Black Hen Music. In 1998, Steve started the independent record label with the intention of releasing roots, acoustic, jazz and blues music. Over the last 10 years, Black Hen has thrived and now has a roster of almost 20 artists and over 30 releases that are distributed internationally.
As for his latest album, Dawson said he focused more on the full band element rather than highlighting a solo sound.
“This album is a mix of acoustic and electric, with a real emphasis on full band,” said Dawson. “We’ve got some really old instruments and a lot of the album has some very deep and rich sounds.”
His live show in Golden will include both solo and full band music and Dawson will play, among other instruments, his slide guitar and pedal steel to create a mix of antique and a more contemporary sound.
“There’s always some improvisation at our shows, too. There are some structured songs and then some elements of complete chaos and surprise.”
Dawson says his influences include everything from 1920s jazz and blues to more contemporary music like Elliot Smith. Writing songs for his recent albums has required a complete change of mind-state from his music producing.
“I’m so busy producing that to write music I have to really structure time to do it,” said Dawson. “It’s not like I’m sitting around just waiting for something to come for me.”
Dawson explained that writing music after producing records definitely requires a shift in the brain, from a technical and logistical state to more of a creative flow.
“I just have to put the rest of my brain aside and write music,” he finished.
The Steve Dawson Band will be playing at the Sacred Heart Parish Hall on Friday, March 18th. Tickets are available at the Moon River Gift Gallery, the Golden Dollar Store and the Art Gallery of Golden.