Winning the 2017 International Blues Challenge, added to her many other awards, has resulted in a heavy international touring schedule, complicated by what her press release terms as ‘her own personal heartbreak’. The combination has inspired a worthy collection of introspective new songs. She didn’t write them all but she did select some good ones to go with her own.

Once again backed by the Ben Racine Band while featuring a couple of guest stars, Dawn Tyler Watson sings as only she can of ‘the good, the bad and the ugly of love’. “Alligator”, as in ‘see you later, alligator’, is one rocking blues of a road song: she’s driving through a snow storm to get to her man but she knows she’ll have to leave again too soon. Racine is on slide and Steve Marriner just wails on harmonica as they build to a climax. No horns here but they open “Don’t Make Me Mad” with a vengeance. It’s from a movie, ‘Teenage Gang Debs’, and she turns this Hollywood music to her advantage as she warns against her partner’s infidelity. Haven’t seen the movie but everybody sure rocks out in this performance. Things slow down a bit for the soul ballad “Feels Good to Watch You Go”. Written by Watson, she turns in an extraordinarily compelling performance of this breakup song, a major highlight. She tries her hand at jump blues with “This and That”, a band feature with a great trumpet solo from Nicolas Boulay. We continue in that vein with “You’re the Only One”, a duet with Racine and they trade verses in fine fashion. ‘Little Frankie’ Thiffault solos on tenor, showing why he won the horn MBA a couple of years ago. Steve Hill guests on “Bad Seed”. This slow blues, written by local Montreal keyboard ace Vincent Pollet-Villard, tells the tale of a woman falling back into a bad relationship. Hill’s heavily-amplified guitar fits the mood perfectly especially in his extended solo. Her own “Masochistic Heart” further explores why she chooses such partners. It’s a magnificent vocal performance fully reflecting her dilemma. Another one of her own is “Lost”, a doom-laden song over tom-toms and a somber chorus about how she was too blind to see what was happening to her partner. An attractive slice of R&B, “Away Too Fast”, written with Racine, finds her still longing for her rambling man. On “Love to Burn”, also hers, she’s decided that her boundless love is not being returned, it’s time he left. We get more jump blues with ”I Look Good”. It has her getting out again and working hard at looking good. The male chorus is a treat. She closes with an ambitious gospel blues she calls “The River”. She’s going down to the river to cleanse her life and regain her freedom. Liana Primerano handles the response vocals very well indeed. After a suitable pause, we get a reprise of the exciting climax from the opening “Alligator”. Except for that opening song, we get a horn section that certainly deserves mention: Matthieu ‘Moose’ Mousseau on baritone, Kaven Jalbert on tenor & baritone and Nicolas Boulay on trumpet. John Sadowy played the keyboards with Nicky Estoron drums and François Dubé on bass. The horn arrangements were by Ben Racine and the horn section. Francois Thiffault co-produced with Dawn but nothing can be taken away from her fabulous voice and her songs.

The web site is www.dawntylerwatson.ca, make sure you hear this one.

May 2019 - Lucas Haneman Express
May 2019 - Duke Robillard