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items tagged with The Dawn

Accessibly Adventurous: The Dawn, “At First Light”; October 31 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2015-10-28 13:50:53

Last year’s album from The Dawn featured the seven-minute jam “Bring It All Home,” which was for me the highlight of the record. It’s safe to call that track foreshadowing, because the new release from the Quad Cities quartet led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Sean Ryan takes the idea and runs with it.

The four songs on At First Light range from just under eight minutes to a touch more than 11. None of the new tracks has the strong, clearly defined verse/chorus spine of “Bring It All Home,” and that certainly makes it difficult to find handholds in the sprawling record; At First Light generally lacks the pop-song niceties that served as a springboard for the jams on the previous-album standout.

The vocal elements are sparse here – a late-arriving verse and chorus on opener “Let Me Down Easy,” bookend singing on “Slow Motion,” and a sustained vocal section on “Paradise.” And while the lengthy instrumental explorations on the new album are never aimless, they are linear to the point of having little shape.

But let’s take all that as a given rather than a flaw. I’ll go a step further and say that by largely discarding formula and recursive structure, At First Light is a bold, committed departure for the band, and it’s evident that these four tracks have been sharpened and polished: The compositions have a lean, focused elegance despite their lengths, and the whole is accessibly adventurous.

Read More About Accessibly Adventurous: The Dawn, “At First Light”; October 31 At RIBCO...

Photos from Camp Euforia 2015
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2015-07-22 18:25:03

Photos by Lars Rehnberg ( from the Camp Euforia festival, held July 16 through 18 in Lone Tree, Iowa.

Jeff Austin Band

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Breaking Some Shackles, Burdened by Others: The Dawn, “Waiting for the Storm”; and Jordan Danielsen, “Old Soul”
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2014-08-20 14:52:50

I’ve written about four releases from Sean Ryan over the past six years – as a solo singer/songwriter, as part of Jim the Mule, and as the leader of the Dawn (and Sean Ryan & the Dawn). I’ve always liked his singing voice – a mature blend of authority, precision, and expression. But with much of his work as a solo act and bandleader I’ve found the combination of standard Americana arrangements and plain-spoken writing dully professional – not vivid enough to avoid the generic.

So the new six-track Waiting on the Storm album from the Dawn came as a pleasant surprise – in particular the expansive rocker “Bring It All Home,” a forceful jam that oozes personality and life and has a clear if winding path. An album full of similar songs would quickly become tiresome, but as a startling change-up from Ryan’s past work, it reverberates through the entire record.

Read More About Breaking Some Shackles, Burdened By Others: The Dawn, “Waiting For The Storm”; And Jordan Danielsen, “Old Soul”...

Drawing Hope from a Shot in the Dark: A Benefit for Rob Cimmarusti, January 11 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2013-01-03 19:25:11

Rob Cimmarusti working on an audio-equipment installation at Progressive Baptist Church in Davenport on January 4, 2013.

Rob Cimmarusti calls it a “malady” – a gentle label for the cancer he’s been told will kill him in the next few months.

But that term is a fair reflection of the attitude the longtime Quad Cities musician, producer, and sound engineer has about the adenocarcinoma that began in his pancreas and has since popped up in the fatty tissue near his abdominal wall. He received his initial cancer diagnosis on February 1 (his 53rd birthday) and has been through chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and surgeries. In an interview last week, he compared the present state of his tumors to a “shotgun blast”; there are too many of them to target with additional surgery or radiation, and because they’re in tissues that get relatively little blood, they don’t respond well to chemo.

Cimmarusti conceded that his situation is “not good, not hopeful.” A few months ago, he said, a doctor in Iowa City told him: “Get your affairs in order. It’s going to be a matter of months.” His response was to fight: “We’re like, ‘Well, we’re not going to take that.’”

Read More About Drawing Hope From A Shot In The Dark: A Benefit For Rob Cimmarusti, January 11 At RIBCO...

A Concise Revelation: Jim the Mule, “You’re Gonna Regret Me,” and Sean Ryan & the Dawn, “All Time Low”; Performing August 24 at the Redstone Room
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2012-08-16 11:53:58

Jim the Mule

I’ve reviewed several recordings by both Sean Ryan (solo and with his band The Dawn) and Jim the Mule over the years, but the You’re Gonna Regret Me EP is the first opportunity I’ve had to hear Ryan as part of the latter band.

It’s a bit of a revelation, as Ryan’s voice, musicianship, and sensibilities are excellent complements to Jim the Mule’s sturdy country rock. With multi-instrumentalist/singer Ryan and guitarist/singer Tom Swanson splitting songwriting and vocal duties over seven tracks, there’s a natural variety, and the EP format feels like an ideal showcase for the different facets of the ensemble.

More importantly, each song is mature with a fully formed, distinct personality, yet they clearly spring from the same parents; their differences resonate as much as their similarities.

Read More About A Concise Revelation: Jim The Mule, “You’Re Gonna Regret Me,” And Sean Ryan & The Dawn, “All Time Low”; Performing August 24 At The Redstone Room...

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