A Buddy and Two Steves

Buddy Miller, he of mad guitar skills, aces songwriter and singer, and on-call auteur for Robert Plant and Emmylou Harris, has defied the usual odds in assembling an all-star confab featuring his picking with that of Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot and Greg Leisz. Farm meets downtown–and Majestic Silver Strings‘ conceptual variety, understatement, guest vocalists, including Emmylou, Shawn Colvin, (and, hold on, Chocolate Genius,) plus the featured felicitous interplay spark a sterling set. (Interview)

In the same vein, although not at all low key, is Canadian jack-of-all-string trades Steve Dawson‘s latest recording Nightshade. Dawson’s is a slide and steel guitar specialist, he’s a good enough songwriter to offset his workmanlike singing with a slew of bright, at times country-funky, essays in good time rock and roll. Dawson is similar to Ry Cooder, Sonny Landreth, and Dave Lindley. Good company of course, and the Juno award winner definitely deserves a wider audience in the states, with his third solo recording.

(For pedal steel enthusiasts, his instrumental date from 2008, Telescope, is essential.)

For just a moment I mistook Chicago’s Steve Dawson for his Canadian counterpart, when I searched at Bandcamp. Must have been the steel and slide guitar scattered throughout his fine record from last year, I Will Miss the Trumpet and the Drums. Songs from that record pop up on his live date from April 2011, Live at Simons. A little bit looser than the earlier record, it attractively squares a jazzy ambience–with vibraphone–with Dawson’s mid-tempo folk-rock, while also plugging in some sauntering instrumentals, featuring his band.

He’s on Bandcamp, so one can try out any of his four BC records.

In addition: Steve Dawson web home, where this beguiling video is featured.

Mastodons from steve dawson on Vimeo.

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