Dawson Blaine
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Dawson Blaine


Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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"Hope on the Shores of Bedlam" April 2011



The isolation of rural Manitoba was the breeding ground for a reflective spirit that would inspire a deeply personal approach to songwriting, the folk tradition of old providing the necessary pattern within which to create. The influence of modern heroes such as Damien Jurado, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen would help forge a musical style that is profound in its delivery and substance, where the centre of the song is not a plethora of instruments but the simple poignancy of voice and guitar. Lyrically these songs are full of intense imagery and walk the line between abstract metaphor and grounded themes; echoes of poets such as Bob Dylan and Conor Oberst can be heard, yet the storytelling tradition embraced by artists like Tom Waits and Springsteen is also visible. The search for love and the pursuit of dreams is common subject matter and is dealt with here in earnest, but perhaps more riveting are the Gospel overtones and spiritual themes prevalent in these songs; the essential quality of old hymns resonates throughout this album.

"Hope on the Shores of Bedlam" features simple yet poignant arrangements, each song calling for a different combination of instruments that ranges from the eerie drones of accordion on “The Fourth of July” to the bluegrass vibe of “Upon a Map of Dreams.” In order to capture the intimacy and cohesion of a live performance, all songs and major instrumentation were recorded live in the studio, with veteran producer Dan Donahue at the helm. The unnatural consistency attainable with modern recording techniques was not a priority, for such methods often document music in a way that sounds artificial and uninspired. Rather, what is captured here is the magic of focused musicians gathered together in a small room, playing music in the most natural way, heeding to the restrictions and vitality of an earlier era.