Recommended by us on 29th August 2012.
Richard Dawson has been a much-loved musical spectacle in his native Newcastle for many years now, a skewed troubadour who sings and plays guitar with a rare intensity and a very singular style. Beguiled northern audiences have long awaited the arrival of recordings that capture Dawson’s genius, and it has finally arrived with his album The Magic Bridge, a 10-song collection out now on cd (Pink Triangle) and double 12” vinyl (Box Records).
Dawson’s music is a collision of opposites, his hoarsely cracking voice suddenly rising to a magical soar that’s been compared to Tim Buckley, John Martyn and Richard Youngs, while his battered acoustic guitar veers from stumble to sublime in a way that can recall Sir Richard Bishop or Captain Beefheart. Add this to his snaring way with words and Dawson’s got you pinned – stories like the one relayed in Black Dog In the Sky typify his by turns heartbreaking and hilarious self-deprecation and skill in painting a story with both words and guitar.
The listener is drawn in carefully but irresistibly from the instrumental opener Juniper Berries Float Down The Stream, which creeps in falteringly but grows and envelops before you realise it’s happened and your gripped. By track 2 and the arrival of his skyward voice (not to mention its beautifully tender conclusion) and Dawson has you under his spell.
The Wire -
“What makes The Magic Bridge such a remarkable album is that every comparison one might make, however illustrious the precursor, feels both entirely justified by Dawson’s music, yet entirely inadequate as an explanation of it. This elusive freshness is why the album demands to be properly heard, compelling the listener to keep coming back to it.”
"...the aesthetic is leaden with an intimate gravity, expressing a stripped back, ragged, and crackling sort of northern-spirited blues recalling the likes of Jandek or Richard Youngs. It's as eloquent as any finger picker you might like to mention, however, the feeling of 'The Magic Bridge' is somehow freer and perhaps not as cloyingly beautiful as so many solo shows of technical prowess can tend to be."
After several years of entrancing Newcastle audiences, Richard Dawson is now stepping out of the North East to cast his spell further afield. Richard is confirmed for this year’s Supersonic festival, 19th - 21st Oct.
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