Rising up from the bed of the River Tyne, a voice that crumbles and soars, that is steeped in age-old balladry and finely-chiselled observations of the mundane, Richard Dawson is a skewed troubadour at once charming and abrasive. His shambolically virtuosic guitar playing stumbles from music-hall tune-smithery to spidery swatches of noise-colour, swathed in amp static and teetering on the edge of feedback. His songs are both chucklesome and tragic, rooted in a febrile imagination that references worlds held dear and worlds unknown.
Both live and on record Dawson is a barrage of musical expression and personality. A shambling exterior, amidst tales of pineapples and underpants, ghosts of family members and cats, his stage presence is at once inviting and awe-inspiring. The visceral power of his voice against the lurching modality of his guitar lines conjure false memories of Tim Buckley and Richard Youngs duetting with Sir Richard Bishop and Zoot Horn Rollo. There is a rawness to the music that embodies timeworn singing traditions – the fire and pestilence gait of the Sacred Harp singings, the fractured call and response of the Gaelic Psalms, the unbridled power of Mongolian throat singers – its power tempered by intimacy, flecked with human emotion anchored by a sense of place.
Richard spent years incubating his singular art, becoming a quiet legend on the Newcastle experimental scene before exploding across the UK and Europe with the delicately observed personal lilt of his 2012 album The Magic Bridge. Invitations followed to perform at Kraak, Supersonic, and Latitude festivals as well as being lauded by Late Junction and The Wire, all of which saw him step musically and emotionally outside of Tyneside.
This path of artistry and experimentation has resulted in a new album for 2014, one where integrity of voice and adventurous music making are welded with the energy of Dawson’s live performance.
Nothing Important is a journey into the mind of Richard Dawson, like a visit to a faith healer one’s own reality melts away as sinewy guitar lines ricochet beneath wavering, spitting lungpower. He picks out wandering melodies, with warped, atonal harmonies wafting in and out of focus; at times the guitar is a second ghostly voice, at others a growling primal stomp driving rabidly forward.
“A remarkable record” 4* – MOJO
“Dawson emerges as a talented chronicler of the tiniest, realest details” – NME
“At times deeply, painfully intimate, but also witty, bawdy, surreal, disquieting, nostalgic, brash and fearlessly individual” – The Quietus
“Perhaps Dawson’s most ambitious and affecting composition to date” 7.8 – Pitchfork
“An odyssey of intelligent observation, morose humour and north-eastern magic” 5* – Record Collector
“Weirdly engrossing” 9/10 – Vice
“This is a record that unsettles and subverts” 5* – The Guardian
“madcap, abrasive and, at times, laugh out loud funny” – Q
“Nothing Important is a rhapsody of the material, the messy, and the intensely human” 9/10 – Loud & Quiet
|18/08/17 - 20/08/17||Richard Dawson in Glanusk Estate, UK||Green Man Festival|