Paddy and Edie Dawson:
The once little known and ever unassuming Dawson family of Swamp Rd Franklin have, in the last few years, come to the attention of enthusiasts of traditional Australian music nationwide.
They have featured in Verandah Music and in various articles in Trad and Now. Their music has been played on Radio National by the New Night Owls band led by Rob Willis and their tunes have turned up in the repertoires of several mainland Australian bush bands.
In Tasmania the Apple Shed Sugar Gliders, The Tasmanian Heritage Fiddle Ensemble and Slap Dash have done a lot to alert local audiences to the rich trove of musical history that lives in the playing of Edie and Paddy Dawson.
Paddy is now somewhere around 86 years old while his sister Edie is around 78. The revival of interest in local music and in their family traditions seem to have inspired Edie and Paddy to new heights. Both are playing better than ever and are making regular appearances at concerts and at Folk Federation events.
My wife Marjorie Gadd and I have become close friends with the Dawsons and session with them whenever possible. Never a session goes by when we do not come away with some newly remembered treasure from Tasmania’s musical past.
Marjorie and I have recorded our own versions of many of Paddy and Edie’s huge repertoire of tunes. Marjorie, however, insisted that now was the time for Edie and Paddy to record their own CD.
Produced by Marjorie and myself and recorded and engineered by Geof Francis live in Edie and Paddy’s lounge room and at the Palais, the CD perfectly captures the spirit of the old Apple Shed Dance music.
The tunes include jigs, polkas, a hornpipe, a reel, a barn dance tune, schottisches, quicksteps and waltzes. Be prepared for squeaky chairs, ambient interventions by Gabby the dog, chooks and cows etc. The feel is live, joyful and full of the natural spirit that marks true folk music. Mike Peters of Franklin contributed the stunning, down-home, cover design and photography. This is authentic traditional music, a sublime addition to the Real Island Roots series, and a must for lovers of Australian bush music.