Richard Dawson, “Nothing Important”

Louis Pattison

By Louis Pattison

International Editor
on 09.22.14 in Listen to This

The music of experimental Tyneside balladeer Richard Dawson feels both in the folk tradition, and as tangled and unruly as a long-forgotten hedgerow. On the surface, his songs feel untutored and shambling, fingers plucking jarring notes, words leaping frenzied towards crescendos or simply flailing free; but repeated listens reveal Dawson as a songwriter almost Beefheartian in his absurdist impulses and technical complexity. The 16-minute title track of his forthcoming album for Weird World is by turns amusing and dark, peopled by hungry barracuda and the ghosts of dead relatives. But most of all it returns folk music to the status of something wild and untamed, scaring the scholars and charging for the hills.