Steve Dawson was born in California, raised in Idaho, and currently lives in Chicago. His songs show evidence of all 3 places – the California folk-rock of the '70s, the country music he heard growing up in Idaho, and the blues, gospel and soul music of Chicago. Steve learned to play guitar in the Idaho public schools and began writing songs and performing with local rock and country bands almost immediately.
After high school Steve studied jazz composition and songwriting at Berklee College of Music in Boston, while also performing in the Cambridge folk music scene. The lure of Chicago’s rich musical history of Blues, Gospel and Jazz and the city’s vibrant live music scene drew Steve to his current hometown in the late '80s. His first band was Stump the Host, an eclectic and twangy high energy group that featured the firey two-part singing of Steve and his wife and singing partner, Diane Christiansen. The band caught the attention of national press and record labels and led to a publishing deal with PolyGram Music. Stump The Host evolved into Dolly Varden in the mid 90’s and became Steve’s main musical focus through the early 2000’s, releasing a string of acclaimed albums and touring all over the U.S. and Europe.
In the mid 2000’s Steve decided to do less touring and began teaching guitar and songwriting at the legendary Old Town School of Folk Music