Music Review: Jennifer Dixon, the Face of Alternative Country’s Uncompromising Future

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Guest post: Treadmarkz is my brother-in-law, a Human Beatles Encyclopedia and the author of the weblog Treadmarkz.wordpress.com.

Some Country music purists would probably say that anything that warrants the name “Alternative Country” is not really Country. But ultimately it is the domain of the fan to judge what an artist is or is not, to them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Jennifer Dixon.

A little country sensibility with a style that hovers along the cusp of blues, pop, jazz owing to a stint on Memphis’ legendary Beale Street, and nearly a decade in Nashville, her new CD, “2 Years” is the fruit of experience. She did not come out of nowhere.

Which makes it all the more uncanny that she has been labeled “un-Nashville.”

The intro to “A Little You For Me” sounds like a nod to “I Lie Around” by Paul McCartney and Wings. But this Norah Jones-like tune comes from the heart of a woman who has given all she can give to the world, yet she finds she’s got a little more left for her man if he’ll meet her halfway. Like “I Lie Around” it never really takes off. It threatens to, repeatedly. But when it comes down to it, it’s just right.

“Too Tired To Care” is Dixon, having been there, done that and not doing it again regarding love. When she starts to hear the same old lines, she is just that, too tired to care. It is a mellow funk romp with a lyric delivered in focused rapid fire, highlighted with some sultry vocal inflections.

“Easy Goodbye” seems to be a follow up on the same theme in that, having heard it all before, its easy to let go and move on. These two tracks are the most un-Nashville of the bunch. One can picture many of today’s top female vocalists flagrantly over-doing “Easy Goodbye”, robbing it of its symbolic ease. One of its greatest features is that the musicians, while doing some top-notch work, back off and let the vocals shine.

With these tracks what you get is a many-tiered cynical view of love. In that respect, “If You’re Looking For An Angel” is refreshing. Just when you are expecting something like “Strong Enough” by Cheryl Crow, it turns into something closer to “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt in its vulnerability. For instance, in the chorus, Dixon sings “If you’re looking for an angel…” Having heard a couple of these songs, one may be surprised to hear her continue with “here I am.” It’s sweet, its comforting, and it demonstrates that with a few gentle, sincere words, yes, women can make men, dare I say it, swoon.

Love Me Back” delivers the very subtlest hints of the smoky vocals of Natalie Merchant or Melissa Etheridge, yet tips the scales with those well-executed vocal inflections again.

Dixon finally brings the thunder with “I Need a Man.” It’s gritty, harkening back to Tanya Tucker, matching the vocal strength of Carrie Underwood. Here Dixon is laying it all out on the line as if to say “This is what I need, damn you!”

Four of these tracks can be heard on her homepage www.jenniferdixon.net, and one is featured in the indie film “Shattered”.

  • http://na Jan Harbin

    Jennifer… This is great. I am so proud of your acomplishments..Your GEE GEE would be too and is is smiling down on you right now!!!!! I love you MOM

  • http://www.launchyourmusic.com Eric Fuller

    Was thoroughly impressed with the quality and the music itself!

  • http://www.buddybrowncountry.com Buddy Brown

    Great sound!