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Rising up from the bed of the River Tyne, a voice that crumbles and soars, steeped in age-old balladry and finely-chiselled observations of the mundane, Richard Dawson is a skewed troubadour, at once charming and abrasive. 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 conjures 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 is tempered by intimacy, flecked with human emotion anchored by a sense of place.
These are tales sung to ward off the misery of the everyday, to transport and transcend, one moment tender, one moment violent. Music to alter our reality.