EP 249 | Steve Dawson

A native of Vancouver but currently residing in Nashville, where he works as a solo artist, sideman, and record producer,  Steve has forged an impressive career full of highlights and awards, including:

  • 7 Juno Awards as artist/producer, 18 times nominated
  • 3 times named “Producer Of The Year” at the Western Canadian Music Awards
  • 4 times named “Producer Of The Year” at the Canadian Folk Music Awards
  • Recipient of many other awards including Maple Blues Awards, Grand Prix De Jazz De Montreal, Blues Blast Awards, and many Western Canadian Music Awards and Canadian Folk Awards as an artist and producer

Steve’s multi-faceted career has brought him to countless international festivals, working on the stage and in the studio with an extensive cast of musicians, including John Hammond, Sonny Landreth, Van Dyke Parks, David Hidalgo, Colin James, Jim Byrnes, Jill Barber, Dave Alvin, Joe Henry, Tim O’Brien, Fats Kaplin, Colin James, The McCrary Sisters, Matt Chamberlain, Del Rey, Birds of Chicago, Allison Russell, Long John Baldry, Bruce Cockburn, Kelly Joe Phelps, Linda McRae, CR Avery, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Geoff Muldaur, Scott Amendola, Danny Barnes, The Deep Dark Woods, Colin Linden, Big Dave McLean, and many others.

Steve’s studio, The Henhouse, located in Nashville (and previously in Vancouver)  has hosted countless artists and been the home to over 80 releases. With a beautifully warm and organic setting to stay and record, it promises to become a destination for many more to come.

His groundbreaking work with Jesse Zubot in Zubot and Dawson kicked things off in 1998, leading to 2 albums with Toronto jazz stalwarts Andrew Downing and Kevin Turcotte in the award-winning Great Uncles of the Revolution. Steve’s solo recording output started with 2001’s award-winning acoustic “Bug Parade”, he next explored blues and Hawaiian influences in depth with “We Belong To The Gold Coast” in 2005. 2008 saw the release of 2 albums – “Telescope” which was the culmination of studies with Greg Leisz and featured music written for the pedal steel guitar, and “Waiting For The Lights To Come Up”, a collection of new songs. He followed that with 2011’s acclaimed “Nightshade”, which Acoustic Guitar magazine named to it’s Top-10 guitar albums of the year. 2014’s “Rattlesnake Cage” – was an award-winning exploration of solo acoustic and slide guitar. Dawson’s 2018 release “Lucky Hand” is a mesmerizing collection of original fingerstyle and slide guitar instrumentals, 5 of which feature Dawson reuniting with his old cohort Jesse Zubot, who arranged incredible string quartet parts to flow with the music. Recorded live off the floor it brings together the American Primitive style Steve has often explored and cutting-edge strings to create music, unlike anything you’ve heard before. Birds of Chicago, Allison Russell, Matt Anderson, etc.  Steve is also host and producer of the podcast Music Makers and Soul Shakers. 135 episodes in 6 years.

amcjmdudhjrtists from all over the world, and continues to work as a side-person and freelance musician both on stage and in the studio. Steve is also the creator of the well-loved Music Makers and Soul Shakers podcast, which has been going for over 6 years and 135 episodes.

He spent the last few years pre-pandemic on the road playing guitar, steel and dobro with Allison Russell’s band Birds of Chicago, and Canadian powerhouse Matt Andersen. He has produced, engineered and mixed over 100 albums for many artists from all over the world, and continues to work as a side-person and freelance musician both on stage and in the studio. Steve is also the creator of the well-loved Music Makers and Soul Shakers podcast

In 2022/2023, Steve released 3 albums throughout the year – “Gone, Long Gone” is the first. From gentle fingerstyle folk tunes to blazing, funky Americana grooves, to Hawaiian-style slide guitar instrumentals, this album covers a lot of sonic territory.

The second album, “Phantom Threshold” came out on August 12, 2022, and is an all-instrumental sonic trip featuring the Telescope Three – Jay Bellerose on drums, Jeremy Holmes on bass, and Chris Gestrin on keyboards. All driven by the melodies and improvisations of Steve’s pedal steel guitar.

Now comes the promised third album Eyes Closed, Dreaming.  It’s filled with Albertan friend  Matt Patershuk co-writes and well-chosen covers. Bobby Charles Small Town Talk, Ian Tyson’s  Long time to get old, Cowboy Jack Clements Guess things happen that way and the classic Singing the Blues.

Lots to talk about with long-time friend Steve Dawson.

Steve’s current tour dates

April 20  Dream Cafe  Penticton

April 21 Rogue Folk Club Vancouver

April 22 Bozzini’s Chilliwack

April 28  First Church of Christ Scientist Victoria

May 3 The Basement Saskatoon

May 4 The Aviary Edmonton

May 5 Festival Hall Calgary