So Near Yet So Far
Review by Peter West from radio 2XX in Canberra: 'Canberra's Craig Dawson & Simone Olding have appeared individually or together on several albums and this latest outing from the talented duo is their best joint effort to date. The ten tracks on this contemporary folk album have that indefinable quality which is characteristic of the work of Craig & Simone so that the music is immediately recognisable as being theirs. They feature confident and tuneful singing and beautiful harmonies throughout. Simone has surely found her blues voice: check out her sensitive renditions of 'Nobody Sees a Fish Cry' and the amazing 'There May Be Times', both written by her. All the compositions are their own and deal with a range of personal and social issues. Our favourite songs are their very moving 'Jenny's Flowers' and the opening track 'House on the Hill' which is about as poignant an epitaph for a dying small country town as you will find anywhere in poetry or song. Instrumentation on the album is excellent, with good work by Simone on flute and by Craig on acoustic guitar supported by the efforts of several other well known Canberra musicians. As well Craig plays a workmanlike folk harmonica and performs several outstanding slide guitar passages. Produced by Angel Train's Greg and Jac Carlin, the artwork on the album is stunning. This most satisfying and entertaining album deserves to be a commercial success.' Review by Dieter Bajzek from Folk Alliance Australia: Recorded in the ACT, with help from artsACT, after the duo won the inaugural Angel Train Award at the NFF 2003. The recording presents 10 original songs by Craig and Simone, which deal with a number of social and human themes. The acoustic sound is instantly warm, gentle and pleasing, with backing provided by various combinations of guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, accordion, cello, bass and flute. Simone and Craig share the writing and vocals and some of the highlights are the opening song The House on the Hill (about the demise of a country town),the quaint but lovely bluesy love song Nobody Sees a Fish Cry and a nice remake of It's Gonna Rain. The CD will have it's official launch at the Merry Muse etc etc Review by Bruce Cameron from Radio 2MCE - FM Craig Dawson and Simone Olding are popular performers around the festival scene and their latest album, 'So Near yet So Far,' is sure to enhance a reputation built on thought provoking and well crafted songs. Ten original tracks including one instrumental, are presented in their familiar restrained and unhurried style allowing the lyrics and drifting melody lines sufficient space to achieve maximum impact. The songs, although not written collaboratively, sit together comfortably as an album and the musical arrangements present each musician's original work to good effect. Instrumentation retains an acoustic feel throughout with guest musicians variously adding cello, bass, accordion and keyboards to the duo's strings, harmonica and percussion. The songs' subject matter covers a range of contemporary social and personal issues, some presented with an understated intensity and gradually increasing sense of tension. The economic decline of a small rural community, the internal struggles of a Vietnam veteran and images of loneliness and isolation may not be typical themes for a jolly folk CD, but 'So Near Yet So Far' offers insight and passion rather than froth and bubble. Take up the offer - this is a most impressive album.