"Dawson Cowals has a haunting voice that demands your ear. An artist who can indeed stand 'unplugged,' Cowals offers a beautiful array of acoustic scores with an unapologetic social conscience. It works. Faith meets fire and speaks to what is missing in the emptiness of many other works. A polished artist with a bright, shiny soul."
- Sue Braiden, CBC Radio
On this latest release, Dawson decided to remain "drumless" to emphasize the importance of the stories told in the songs by keeping them mostly acoustic. Joined by virtuoso musician and producer/engineer for the project, Nick Garrett-Powell, Dawson brings together 17 new songs sure to please long-time fans and draw new listeners as well. Dawson plays all of the rhythm acoustic guitar on the album as well as singing the lead vocals and adding the occasional flute line. He is accompanied by Nick's amazing mandolin work, classical guitar, slide, steel string, harmonica, brush snare, shaker and stunning harmonies. Nick and Dawson form the core of this musical tapestry and manage to make it sound like they've been playing together for 10 years instead of only a few months. Deborah Katz joins them on several tracks with the haunting beauty of her violin and viola work, and Missy Howell knocks the socks off the cliche that she has the voice of an angel. Brian Engle also wandered into the studio during the recording of "That's What Friends Are For" and helped fill out the bass harmony for that track.
From the upbeat swing of "Without Love" to the light-hearted reminder to put aside our anger "Before The Sun Sets", Dawson shares an intimate glimpse into his personal life over the past 7 years. These songs chronicle some very painful times such as the death of his father and the poignant song of sorrow and hope that clings to the promise: "When I Find Forever" I will find you. They also celebrate some happier moments such as the wedding song, "1000 Butterflies", which he wrote and performed for friends, and the toe-tapping burden-lifting song that reminds us "That's What Friends Are For". Backed by Nick's haunting classical chops, "Telephone Game" gives a harsh glimpse into how gossip can crack the image of our friends. From there he moves to an emotional, first-person account of Jesus in the garden asking the Father to "take me in their place". Spaced throughout the album are a few worship choruses that are sure to get stuck in your head and find their way back to the tip of your tongue throughout the day such as "It's By The Grace" and "I Will Tell".
"Coffee Shop Song" emphasizes Dawson's ability to paint a story with his songs, singing of a girl who walks into a coffee shop and hears the words of a song that have an impact on her life. For those who enjoy intricate rhythms, his modern take of the favorite hymn, "Be Thou My Vision", jumps around from 5/4 to 6/8 time and includes a fresh chorus that ties the traditional words together in a new and meaningful way. Brought together, these 17 songs will take you on a journey of faith and character, from the depths of grief to the heights of hope and joy. And like the reprise, the album will leave you with the comforting truth that by the grace of God we can come boldly before the throne and seek mercy and help in our time of need.
Hailing from Oregon, Dawson has been a singer/songwriter for the past 17 years and has shared his talents both in small Bible studies and intimate coffee shop settings and before larger congregations and amphitheater audiences. Among his other CDs are a collection of original worship songs, a Christmas project blending traditional with new, and the solo acoustic project, "Unplugged".