FAME Review: Ewan Dobson - III
Ewan Dobson - III


Ewan Dobson

Available from Candyrat Records.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

The clean and precise Mr. Dobson has yet to figure out how to visually market his praiseworthy work, this release's cover being even worse than the last (here), and I mean realllllly bad, screaming "am-a-teur!", and that's not at all the case with this guy and his work. III continues Ewan's amazingly successful CandyRat / You Tube venture (good lord, 10 million YouTube views in 2011 alone!!!) and from the outset sheds a more luminant glow on his Mason Williams sympathies, among others, in the first two of sixteen cuts. These and others follow fully in the country twang mode, with just a hint of Celtica. By the trey spot, though, he gets righteously inventive and starts bending the genre to fit his customary exploratory wont, tossing in Fahey, Howe, DeGrassi, etc. The title My Nightmare is nothing of the sort but rather a sparkling example of his killer compositional technique and absolute crystallinity. Quite a feat coming from a cat who started out headbanging not so many years ago.

Yet switch he did and has been capturing prize after prize while wowing the Internet and headphone crowd. This is the sort of music the Takoma label had been invented for and even DiMeola, especially in his World / New Age phase, is going to sit up and take notice, not to mention Kottke and no end of the past masters. In the largest sense, Dobson is a one-man California Guitar Trio…but that sort of thing tends to be the case with the bulk of the CandyRatters anway, thank Christ.

Classicality is showing an ever larger place in Dobson's work, but an elder tradition that brims with playfulness and a wry take on conventions, as Paganinni in Spain clearly demonstrates. I strongly advocate getting all three Dobson's CR releases because the growth seen from this perspective is breathtaking. You're literally hearing a young virtuso go from impressive as hell to alarmingly masterful. Were there any doubt ere this slab, with III, he takes his rightful place with the CandyRat cognoscenti. If you hail from the era when Toulouse Engelhardt, Peter Lang, the Takoma bad boyz, and the rest of the serious traditionalist-expansionists ruled the roost, you're going to be up to your eyeballs in excellence with this one, more than confident that not only is the torch being passed on but blazing like the sun in a new sky.

Track List:

  • Best Friend
  • Blackberry Blossom (traditional)
  • My Nightmare
  • Level 40
  • Hallelujah (Cohen / arr. Dobson)
  • Ice Winter Rock
  • Paganini in Spain (Paganini / arr. Dobson)
  • Acoustimetallicus Plectrus
  • Donky Kong Expansion Pack (Kaneoka / Dobson)
  • Caprice No. 10 (Paganini / arr. Dobson)
  • Machinery
  • The Pickle Jug
  • Legend ofthe Brown Goat
  • Kartuli Cekva Operidan "Daisu" (Paliashvili / arr. Dobson / Chang)
  • Retro
  • Nearer my God to Thee (Mason / arr. Dobson)
All songs written by Ewen Dobson except as noted.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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