Monday, December 26, 2016
CD Review: S. R. DUGAN - Soujourner
S. R. DUGAN
Back On Black - The Chippewa - Sojourner - Sweeter Shores - Questions - Yesterday, Today, Forever - Wide - Steele Co. Memories - Half ife - Here Today
One important thing about Shawn Dugan is that he's a terrific poet and songwriter. Like his fellow Minnesotan, Bob Zimmerman, his mind doesn't stay very long in one place. His mind, and his pen, is constantly taking on new life with each drop of ink he puts on paper. We were very fortunate to be able to award Shawn with "Contemporary Gospel CD of the Year" from the Rural Roots Music Commission in 2015. It's 2016 as I listen to this marvelous 'creator' and wonder at his ability to place so many subject matters inside the three minutes usually allotted for a 'song.' Another neat thing Shawn does is to take his 'works' to good people. He goes to Moscow, Tennessee, for recording at Farmhouse Studio. This in itself is a remarkable experience, the studio is way out in the country, nestled in a lot of trees, in a very rural location. Peace and invitation to be sure. Shawn not only invites some incredibly gifted musicians to fortify his music, he also invites Jesus Christ into his life all the time. "Yesterday, Today, Forever" is a remarkable testimony to the Lord. This gentle man, Shawn Dugan is a very 'strong' man with ideas, creativity, and especially vibrant in songwriting. Remarkably he has Becky Buller playing fiddle on two of his songs, "Back On Black" and "Wide" both super good songs. My wife Sheila and I know Becky well. The first time we met her was in Copenhagen, Denmark, at a festival we were performing on. Valarie Smith was also booked, along with her fiddler Becky Buller. What a beautiful experience, just as it is to hear her on this wonderful CD. Mr. Dugan needs to nominate her for induction into America's Old Time Fiddler's Hall of Fame, she's a natural. Shawn's roots are in the acoustic music genres of folk, bluegrass, and gospel. I would gladly add old-time and rural roots to that categorization. He utilizes some very different kinds of arrangements in this recording experience. "Half Life" is entirely a guitar instrumental. You can tell it's acoustic, he uses round-wound strings on his guitar, and the little 'squeaks' are all there just like he created them. In total, this is one of many more exhilarating musical experiences coming from S. R. Dugan. Expect the best, and you'll get it.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART - President, National Traditional Country Music Association for Country Music News International