Roar Electra. Now there’s an intriguing title, one that connotes ferocity and eclecticism. Those are two words that conjure up thoughts of strength and finesse, of arty intricacies tempered by no-nonsense musicianship. Those two words also happen to be the title of Mike Dawson’s eighth studio album.
Dawson, a respected Texas singer, songwriter, producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, also named his current band Roar Electra, an intrepid gang of talented musicians. Roar Electra features co-producer Taylor Tatsch (guitar, bass, background vocals), Greg Dugan (drums, percussion), Stephan Page (violins), and Dawson on lead vocals, keyboards, and guitars.
Roar Electra also sports guests Michael Markley, Kirk Powers and Rick Read on bass. Dawson’s New Rage horn section consists of Kim Corbet (trombone), Steve Howard (trumpet), Larry Spencer (trumpet), Lee Schloss (saxophones) and Mitch Paliga (saxophones).
Chicago saxophone legend Paliga, Dawson’s lifelong friend, wrote the stunning horn arrangement for the album single “Patriot.” Chris Schaff played drums on “Patriot,” while trumpet virtuoso Keith Jourdan impressed with a stellar horn solo. The topper on “Patriot” comes in the form of beautiful vocals from Annagrey Labasse.
To call Roar Electra ambitious is quite the understatement. Dawson penned all the tunes, some were written during the recording process while others span a decade of conception. Roar Electra bridges the gap separating rock from classical, its sophistication bested only by its unbridled passion. There’s even a four movement classical-influenced suite “Per Aspera Ad Astra” that harks to Dawson’s love of science, space travel and atmospheric film and TV scores.
Produced by Dawson with assistance and plenty of creative ingenuity by Tatsch (Shadows of Jets, Cut Throat Finches, Gollay), Roar Electra helps Dawson come full circle.“Roar Electra represents a return to my rock roots,” says Dawson. “I think these are the best songs I've ever written, and having Taylor Tatsch playing brilliantly in the studio has been inspiring. I even broke one of his guitars and he didn't kill me. Now that's exciting!”