Richard Dawson (musician)

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Richard Dawson
Richard Dawson 2015.jpg
Dawson performing in 2015
Background information
GenresFolk, psychedelic folk, art rock, avant-garde
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, keyboard, samplers

Richard Dawson is an English folk-influenced musician from Newcastle upon Tyne.[1] His 2014 album Nothing Important was released by Weird World and was met with critical acclaim.[2][3][4] His 2017 album Peasant received similar acclaim, and was chosen by The Quietus as their album of the year.[5]


Dawson grew up in Newcastle and became interested in singing as a child, attempting to emulate American singers such as Faith No More's Mike Patton.[6] He worked in record stores for 10 years before starting a professional music career. He bought an inexpensive acoustic guitar with nylon strings[2] but accidentally broke it. After the guitar was repaired, he found it had a unique sound and he now uses it as his main instrument.[1]

Dawson's approach at tackling blues music has been described as an English version of Captain Beefheart.[1][4] Dawson himself cites Qawwali,[6] a form of Sufi devotional music, Kenyan folk guitarist Henry Makobi[1] and folk musician Mike Waterson[7] as influences on his work. The albums The Glass Trunk (2013) and Nothing Important (2014) feature collaborations with harpist Rhodri Davies, who Dawson describes as "somewhat of a kindred spirit".[6][7] Dawson and Davies released a collaborative album, Dawson-Davies: Hen Ogledd,[8] in 2013 and Dawson has also released solo material pseudonymously under the name "Eyeballs".[7]

Since Nothing Important, Dawson has played the guitar through a Fender and an Orange amplifier in series.[6] He also used synthesized sounds from an iOS application, ThumbJam, and played saxophone despite having only a rudimentary knowledge of the instrument.[6]

Lyrically, Dawson's material deals with dark subjects such as death. For The Glass Trunk, he searched a database in the Tyne and Wear archives for "death" and took inspiration from old news stories involving murder and bodily harm.[2][9] The track “The Vile Stuff” from Nothing Important describes a continuous narrative of events, including one where Dawson pierced his hand with a screwdriver attempting to crack a coconut shell while on a school trip.[4]

His 2017 record Peasant was The Quietus' record of the year.[10]



  • Richard Dawson Sings Songs and Plays Guitar (2007)
  • The Magic Bridge (2011)
  • The Glass Trunk (2013)
  • Nothing Important (2014)
  • Peasant (2017)
  • 2020 (2019)


  • Dawson May Jazzfinger Clay with Nev Clay, Ally May and Jazzfinger (2009)
  • Dawson-Davies: Hen Ogledd with Rhodri Davies (2013)
  • Hen Ogledd with Rhodri Davies and Dawn Bothwell: Bronze (2016)
  • Hen Ogledd with Rhodri Davies, Dawn Bothwell and Sally Pilkington: Mogic (2018)


  • Motherland (2008)


  1. ^ a b c d Weingarten, Christopher R. (November 2014). "Richard Dawson – Dej Loaf, Oliver Heldens and 8 More New Artists You Need to Know | Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Cook-Wilson, Winston (5 November 2014). "Richard Dawson: Nothing Important". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  3. ^ Gardner, Noel (1 November 2014). "NME Reviews – Richard Dawson – 'Nothing Important'". NME. IPC Media. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Hann, Michael (20 November 2014). "Richard Dawson: Nothing Important review – remarkably original folk". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  5. ^ Riley, Danny (1 June 2017). "The Quietus | Reviews | Richard Dawson". The Quietus. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e Nugent, Cian (3 December 2014). "Richard Dawson by Cian Nugent". Bomb magazine. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  7. ^ a b c McKeating, Scott (26 February 2013). "The Ancestor's Tale: An Interview With Richard Dawson". The Quietus. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  8. ^ Bliss, Abi (November 2014). "Galaxy of Scars". The Wire. The Wire Magazine Ltd. (369): 40. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  9. ^ Wheeler, Harry (5 March 2014). "Richard Dawson – The Glass Trunk". Folk Radio. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  10. ^ "The Quietus | Features | Quietus Charts | Quietus Albums Of The Year 2017, In Association With Norman Records". The Quietus. Retrieved 2017-12-08.

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