Episode 113: Steve Dawson of Dolly Varden
Air date: 5.28.2014
Chicago’s Dolly Varden is a band that could be called local legends, but the 5-piece has accomplished too much over 19 years, six albums and numerous shows across the U.S. and overseas to be relegated to mere local status. One half of the songwriting team that fronts Dolly Varden is guitarist and vocalist Steve Dawson. Dawson was born in California and raised in Idaho, but he is Chicago through and through - and his brilliant songs and gentle tenor perfectly reflect the complex, friendly and often frozen city that has long been his home. Dolly Varden has some big plans in the works for their 20th anniversary next year, but Dawson has a very busy schedule of his own. His new side project, Funeral Bonsai Wedding, is a based on a wholly new and improvisational approach that builds on his solid pair of solo albums, Sweet Is The Anchor and I Will Miss The Trumpets And The Drums, both of which are filled with exquisitely crafted songs that deftly include elements of classic country, old school pop and blue-eyed soul. The new band will open the Millennium Park Downtown Sound New Music Mondays summer concert series at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion - Chicago’s beautiful lakefront outdoor music venue - on Monday, June 2nd, sharing the stage with another Chicago legend, Robbie Fulks. In addition to the new band and Dolly Varden’s upcoming anniversary, Dawson’s day job is helping to instruct the next generation of budding songwriters how to turn their ideas into great music by teaching songwriting and guitar classes at Chicago’s legendary Old Town School of Folk Music.