Bio

Steve Dawson was born in California, raised in Idaho, and currently lives in Chicago. His songs show evidence of all 3 places – the California folk-rock of the 70’s, the country music he heard growing up in Idaho, and the blues, gospel and soul music of Chicago. Steve learned to play guitar in the Idaho public schools and began writing songs and performing with local rock and country bands almost immediately. After high school Steve studied jazz composition and songwriting at Berklee College of Music in Boston, while also performing in the rich Cambridge folk music scene. The lure of Chicago’s rich musical history of Blues, Gospel and Jazz and the city’s vibrant live music scene drew Steve to his current hometown in the late 80’s. His first band was Stump the Host, an eclectic and twangy high energy group that featured the firey two-part singing of Steve and his wife and singing partner, Diane Christiansen. The band caught the attention of national press and record labels and led to a publishing deal with PolyGram Music. Stump The Host evolved into Dolly Varden in the mid 90’s and became Steve’s main musical focus through the early 2000’s, releasing a string of acclaimed albums that would reflect the growing craft and depth of his songs. Critics from Rolling Stone, Uncut, The Village Voice, among many others, praised Steve’s gift for melodic, evocative songs and soulful singing as the band toured all over the USA and Europe. In the mid 2000’s Steve decided to do less touring and began teaching guitar and songwriting at the legendary Old Town School of Folk Music. He opened a small recording studio, Kernel Sound Emporium, and began producing and recording his own solo albums, along with other Chicago-area singer-songwriters. His solo albums, “Sweet Is The Anchor (2006),” “I Will Miss The Trumpets and the Drums (2010)” and “Funeral Bonsai Wedding (2014),” have expanded and reinforced Steve’s reputation as ““One of the most underrated songwriters in American music,” and “a classic artist hiding in plain sight.” In 2016 Steve co-wrote a book, “Take It To the Bridge: Unlocking the Great Songs Inside You,” with Mark Caro, based on his popular songwriting classes at The Old Town School. Steve is currently finishing a forth solo album at Kernel to be released in late 2019, and an EP with Funeral Bonsai Wedding and the Quartet Parapluie string quartet.

contact: steve at stevedawsonmusic dot com

DISCOGRAPHY, etc
Steve Dawson and Mark Caro, “Take It To The Bridge: Unlocking The Great Songs Inside You.” A book on songwriting and the creative process (2016)
Steve Dawson and ellen cherry, “The Thread” EP (2015)
Steve Dawson, Funeral Bonsai Wedding (2014)
Dolly Varden, “For A While” (2013)
Steve Dawson, “I Will Miss The Trumpets And The Drums” (2010)
Dolly Varden: “The Panic Bell” (2007)
Steve Dawson, “Sweet Is The Anchor” (2005)
Steve Dawson, “Demos for Dolly” (2004)
Steve Dawson & Diane Christiansen: “Duets” (2003)
Dolly Varden: “Forgiven Now” (2002)
Dolly Varden: “The Dumbest Magnets” (2000)
Dolly Varden: “The Thrill of Gravity” (1998)
Dolly Varden: “Mouthful of Lies” (1995)
Stump The Host: “California Zephyr” (7″ single, 1993)