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Episode 534

Artist: Kathy Greenholdt w/ Steve Dawson

About the Episode:

Kathy Greenholdt is a Chicago singer-songwriter whose earthy, elegant music explores the fragile nature of living. Her songs are a pop/rock/Americana mix — a sound described as Roy Orbison, Neko Case, and Leonard Cohen combined.

In 2002, at age 38, Kathy played guitar for the first time. Since then, she has released five collections of critically praised original music.

In 2013, Kathy released her newest album, When You’re Dead, which she recorded with producer and songwriter/musician Steve Dawson of the band Dolly Varden. When You’re Dead was launched with a sold-out show at one of Chicago’s most beloved venues, The Hideout.

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 early 70′s (Gram Parsons, Neil Young, Jackson Browne), the country music he heard growing up in Idaho, and the blues and soul music of Chicago. Dawson first picked up guitar at age 12 and began writing songs almost immediately. His first professional gig was playing guitar with Cadillac Carl and the Road Rangers at the Silver Dollar Saloon in Bellevue, Idaho. After high school, Dawson attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, studying jazz composition and songwriting, while also performing in the local folk music scene.

 In the early 90′s Dawson moved to Chicago. Upon his arrival he met Diane Christiansen and they formed the band Stump the Host, which became a training ground and a showcase for Dawson’s eclectic songwriting. In 1995 Stump The Host changed personal and evolved into a new band, Dolly Varden, releasing the first of five albums that would reflect the growing craft and depth of his songs. Critics from Rolling Stone, Uncut, and the Village Voice, among many others, have praised Dawson’s gift for melodic, evocative songwriting.

  Dolly Varden has toured all across the US and Europe over the last 18 years. In 2006 Undertow records released Dawson’s first solo album, “Sweet Is The Anchor,” a collection of quiet, layered songs recorded in Steve’s home studio. Critics noted Dawson’s heightened strength as both a songwriter and singer, combining elements of country and soul: “Sweet Is The Anchor is a vocalist’s album awash in the languor of country music and the Saturday night highs of soul” (Chicago Daily Herald). Dawson’s latest solo album, “I Will Miss The Trumpets And The Drums,” (Undertow, 2010), was once again self-produced and recorded in Dawson’s home studio, Kernel Sound Emporium. The follow up to “Sweet Is the Anchor,” the new album features 13 haunting, melodic songs about change and letting go, sung in Dawson’s plaintive tenor, with echos of classic country, pop and soul. In addition to performing and recording Dawson teaches songwriting and guitar at the world famous Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.

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