Richard Dawson – in session for Marc Riley – October 10, 2019 – BBC 6 Music –
Richard Dawson as we head into Friday.
Someone said, and I agreed with them wholeheartedly, that the current situation our world is in will see a massive resurgence in music I have come to characterize as The Angry Arts. Protest music, but protest of society that it has become of late – the one where empathy is lost in the shuffle, division is rife and frustration is the norm, rather than the exception.
Richard Dawson fills the bill perfectly – he doesn’t really sing songs – he vocalizes reflections on life, on people, on those small seemingly insignificant moments that, put together, are the sum total of a life gone terribly wrong, very quickly.
But, here’s the irony – taken at face-value, they reflect a certain optimism, the resiliency of life and are reflections of the day-to-day struggles many of us have that consume our lives.
Dawson is from Newcastle, an industrial city in the north of England that has seen more than its fair share of intense poverty and social disconnect for decades. But rather than write songs that offer stereotypes of a situation, Dawson pulls it apart and explores it – peels the layers to reveal the beating and vital pulse of the every day.
If you aren’t familiar with the music of Richard Dawson it may strike you as weird and dissonant. I confess that I wasn’t familiar with his work until my friend Mig sent over some tracks from his latest album, 2020 which was released on the 11th of this month.
This is intense stuff – it is also musically engaging and makes for riveting listening; an interesting and unique combination that offers perfect sense why Richard Dawson has been critically acclaimed as well as being awarded Album of The year for his 2014 project Nothing Important.
This solo session, done for Marc Riley at BBC 6 Music was recorded just a little over a week ago. I left in some of the between-song banter because it gives a better idea who Richard Dawson is and why his music is so important but also why his presence right here, right now, is so essential to what’s going on in our somewhat skewed world. It is keen observation with an eye on making a difference.
I certainly believe he is someone to keep an eye out for – I have the feeling he will become a spokesman for a genre of music we long ago forgot about. But the times and the people are bringing it all back with a vengeance.
Enjoy and listen carefully.