Julian Dawson was born in London 4th July 1954, the same day that Elvis first got together with Scotty
and Bill to invent rock’n’roll. He is one of seven brothers.
He passed nine misspent years in two Catholic boarding schools and three good ones at Art College,
before deciding to take up music full time and playing his first professional jobs for the US army in Germany.
After a return to London, he spent the next years on the road all over Europe and the UK with various band line-ups,
playing his own songs from day one and eventually landing his first record deal.
One pub-rock influenced LP was followed by two albums for Polydor, both recorded at the legendary Can Studio
near Cologne with Jaki Liebezeit and guests Richard Thompson and Toots Thielemans. As Real As Disneyland garnered
album-of-month status and sold well in the German-speaking territories, setting a pattern of Dawson having more
success abroad than at home that has remained a feature of his career so far.
In the early nineties Julian turned his attentions to the USA, making two albums in Nashville with E Street
Band bass-player Garry Tallent producing and a host of local guests, including Vince Gill, Duane Eddy, Bill
Payne and Steve Forbert. Fragile As China charted in Germany and helped him build a radio presence and a
solid following in the USA, where he still tours at least once a year.
Visits to the States, and Nashville and Austin in particular, became a regular part of his life, leading
to further recordings (five in all for BMG) and co-writes and collaborations with artists such as Dan
Penn, Nicky Hopkins, Jules Shear and Lucinda Williams, with whom he also recorded a lovely duet, "How
Can I Sleep Without You." His 1995 album Travel On features his collaboration with Nicky
Hopkins: "You’re Listening Now." In 1996 he produced country legend Charlie Louvin’s
come-back album The Longest Train.
Sharp-eyed music lovers may have caught Julian at festivals such as Newport (USA), Cambridge, Cropredy
and Glastonbury in England, on tour with Plainsong, Al Stewart, Fairport Convention and others,
on TV’s Later With Jools Holland (with Richard Thompson) or the Europe-wide Rockpalast with his own band.
For several years he kept together a phenomenal live band, featuring guitarist Steuart Smith, now with the
Eagles. More albums followed both as a member of Plainsong with Iain Matthews and solo, including
Under The Sun with Soft Boys Kimberley Rew and Andy Metcalfe; 2002’s Hillbilly Zen with
ex-Byrd Gene Parsons; and Move Over Darling with Richard Thompson, Dan Penn and the Roches.
After a well-received album of covers of women’s songs—Nothing Like A Dame —in 2006,
his CD Deep Rain was produced by soul legend Dan Penn in his Nashville studio and is
currently available on Blue Rose Records. It was followed in 2010 by Julian Dawson Live, with
his current band.
What spare time he has is spent with his family, listening to music, collecting vinyl rarities,
walking, writing and simply enjoying life.
For more about Julian, visit his website at
and on piano... Nicky Hopkins
The Extraordinary Life of the World’s Greatest Session Man