It's amazing what a change of pace and scenery can do for an artist's work. Country and folk singer/guitarist Steve Dawson is well established around Chicago (best known for working with Dolly Varden) but that didn't stop him from switching up his game and forming a new group he's calling Funeral Bonsai Wedding which celebrates its debut album release this Friday at Constellation in Roscoe Village.
Dawson recruited three well-praised improvisational jazz players from around the city to round out his group: bassist Jason Roebke, vibraphone player Jason Adasiewicz and drummer Frank Rosaly. The later two were Dawson's cronies from their days working at Chicago's Jazz Record Mart.
Despite the fact that Funeral Bonsai Wedding is made up of mostly jazz musicians, Dawson's folk background stills shines through. More than anything, Adasiewicz's vibraphone on the album gives it the light, bouncy sounds that would draw a jazz music comparison. It's hard to classify anything this group's makes in fact. "Confusion" is a downright blues tunes. Simply put, the eight songs that comprise the band's self-titled debut music for the blue-collared class, each more organic than the last.
That natural quality to the music could be in thanks to the fact the the four members recordedFuneral Bonsai Wedding live, together in room.
Dawson himself says the new music was, "...inspired by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison's Astral Weeks and the mix of folk, rock and soul music that I've always loved."
You won't be able to hear the new tracks until Sept. 30, the album's official release date, but you'll definitely hear a taste of what it has to offer at the show Friday night. Tickets to the concert, which starts at 9:30 p.m. are still available for $12. You'll have to be 18 or older to be admitted. Advanced order of the new album (in vinyl or digital download format) can be purchased through Funeral Bonsai Wedding's website.
Steve Dawson photo courtesy of Robert Loerzel