GABE DIXON BAND: LIVE AT THE WORLD CAFE
Because of his stratospheric skills as a pianist and his
earlier penchant for Dr. John-like groove tunes, after the release of their
major-label debut, On A Rolling Ball, Nashvillian Gabe Dixon and his band
initially were lumped in with the jam pop subculture. Or, even less accurately,
Dixon was painted by some as a secondhand Ben Folds. Subsequently, Dixon didn't
exactly become a household name in the few years that followed after dropping
While waiting for his own star to rise, Dixon spent time in
the studio and on the road with some of the biggest names in pop history. He was
chosen to play keys on Paul McCartney's Driving Rain album, and this past
summer he toured as the keyboardist for the reunited Loggins & Messina. And
it's easy to see what these master craftsman saw in Dixon — a reflection.
From the timeless tone of his voice, to his mastery over
melody and lyrics, Dixon embodies everything you would want out of the
consummate pop artist. Gabe Dixon isn't like a classic pop songwriter, he
is a classic pop songwriter.
In the span of only six songs on his new live EP, Dixon shows
why he deserves to join the ranks of Jackson Browne and early Elton John in the
pop pantheon. It isn't overstating things to say that no Nashville non-country
artist has released anything this universally appealing in years.
Naysayers can point to the fact that he co-wrote a couple of
these songs with Grammy winner Wayne Kirkpatrick and former Semisonic frontman
Dan Wilson, now an in-demand producer/collaborator.
But even Wilson will tell you that a song like All Will Be
Well is the "song of a lifetime" (a sentiment he conveyed to ATR
while in town last week). These songs are so deeply affecting on first listen
that you'll wonder first if you've heard them before, and then why you haven't
heard them up until this point. And that is the single most frustrating thing
about listening to Live at the World Cafe.
Why on earth did a major label like Reprise decide to release
a live EP before these songs ever made it to an actual album? This horribly
underpublicized set of songs contains three absolute stunners in Five More
Hours, All Will Be Well and Ever After You, all three of which
demand to be blasting out of radios from Hohenwald to Honolulu.
Maybe this is part of some major-label master plan to make
Dixon into the megastar he ought to be, but if these songs fail to reach their
full potential it will be a colossal musical travesty, even in post-Napster
music world terms.