Don Dixon (musician)

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This article is about the musician Don Dixon. For others, see Don Dixon.
Don Dixon
Born (1950-12-15) December 15, 1950 (age 65)
Lancaster, South Carolina
Genres Alternative country
Rock music
Folk music
Jangle pop
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, bass, guitar
Years active 1980s-present
Labels Enigma Records
Capitol Records
Gadfly Records
123 Records
Arcade Records
Sugar Hill Records
Dixon Archival Remnants
Associated acts Marti Jones
R.E.M.
Chris Stamey
Mitch Easter
Tommy Keene
The Smithereens

Don Dixon is a record producer, songwriter, musician, bass guitarist, and very occasional actor. Dixon is considered to be one of the key producers of what is called the jangle pop movement of the early 1980s.

Early Years[edit]

Don Dixon was born on December 13, 1950 in Lancaster, South Carolina. He learned guitar at age 13, and made his first recording as a jazz bassist at age 15. He attended the University of North Carolina, where his roommate was the writer Bruce Brooks.[1]

Dixon and several fellow UNC freshmen formed the band Arrogance, who recorded six albums and inspired others in the North Carolina music scene. Dixon spent thirteen years as a member, and learned the essence of record production during this time.[2]

Production[edit]

Dixon was still playing with Arrogance in 1982 when Mitch Easter asked him to co-produce R.E.M.'s debut LP Murmur and their 1984 follow-up LP Reckoning (both Dixon and Easter are credited in the Reckoning liner notes as "Machinists").[2]

Dixon then spent several years producing the work of artists including Chris Stamey (formerly of The dB's), The Smithereens, Fetchin Bones,[3] Richard Barone, Guadalcanal Diary and Marshall Crenshaw.[2] Considered to be a highlight of this period was Tommy Keene's Run Now EP.[4]

Recordings[edit]

In 1985, success as a producer led to Dixon's solo debut Most of the Girls Like to Dance But Only Some of the Boys Like To, a collection of early demos. This album reflected his love of classic pop melodies and spiky, Nick Lowe-inspired word play.[5]

In 1987, Dixon recorded Romeo at Juliard described as Big Star-style power pop. Chi-Town Budget Show (1988) was a recording of a Chicago’s Park West nightclub broadcast. In 1989, his album EEE featured The Uptown Horns.[5]

In 1995, after taking time off to raise a family, Dixon released Romantic Depressive, a somewhat darker-themed album.[5]

In 1996, Dixon produced the original cast recording of King Mackerel & The Blues Are Running (Songs And Stories Of The Carolina Coast) which featured Bland Simpson (Red Clay Ramblers) and author/composer Jim Wann.[6]

It was another four years before he released The Invisible Man (2000), an album about mortality, with songs from viewpoints of people of various ages.[7]

Note Pad #38 in 2001 was an odds-and-ends collection of unreleased material from his solo career.[5]

In 2006, Dixon released The Entire Combustible World in One Small Room, a concept album revolving around rooms in a house.[8]

Dixon and wife Marti Jones released the download-only album Lucky Stars: New Lullabies for Old Souls in 2008. A departure from their previous sound, this project began as a request from a friend who was putting together an album of lullabies to sell in hospitals to new parents. The album featured six vocal songs and five instrumentals.[9]

In 2008, Dixon released The Nu-Look with The Jump Rabbits, his bandmates of 20 years: Jamie Hoover of The Spongetones, and Jim Brock.[10]

In 2009, a book of Dixon's song lyrics, Songs 101: the Lyrics of Don Dixon was published by VanZeno Press.[11]

Although Dixon and wife Marti Jones have collaborated on each other's albums for years, in 2011 they released Living Stereo, their first proper duet album.[12]

In 2014, Dixon released High & Filthy & Borderline, based on the lives of a male and a female assassin.[12][13]

Personal life[edit]

Dixon has been married to the singer/artist Marti Jones since 1988.[14]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

  • 1985: Most of the Girls Like to Dance But Only Some Of The Boys Like To (Enigma Records)
  • 1987: 'Romeo at Juilliard (Enigma Records)
  • 1989: EEE (Restless Records / Capitol Records)
  • 1995: Romantic Depressive (Sugar Hill Records)
  • 2000: The Invisible Man (Gadfly Records)
  • 2006: The Entire Combustible World in One Small Room (125 Records)
  • 2010: Don Dixon Sings the Jeffords Brothers (Arcade Records)
  • 2014: High & Filthy & Borderline (Dixon Archival Remnants Records)

Live album[edit]

  • 1988: Chi-Town Budget Show (Restless Records)

Don Dixon & Marti Jones[edit]

  • 2008: Lucky Stars: New Lullabies For Old Souls (Lava Head Music)
  • 2011: Living Stereo (Dixon Archival Remnants Records)

Don Dixon & the Jump Rabbits[edit]

  • 2008: Nu-Look (Dixon Archival Remnants Records)

Compilations[edit]

  • 1992: (If) I'm A Ham, Well You're A Sausage (Restless Records) - best of
  • 2001: Note Pad #38 (Dixon Archival Remnants Records) - rarities

Performs on[edit]

Production credits[edit]

As producer[edit]

Selected albums[edit]

Artist Title Label Year Other notes
Dumptruck Positively Dumptruck Enigma 1986
Fetchin Bones Cabin Flounder DB 1984
Fetchin Bones Bad Pumpkin Capitol 1985
Guadalcanal Diary Walking in the Shadow of the Big Man DB 1984
Guadalcanal Diary 2x4 Elektra 1987
Guadalcanal Diary Flip-Flop Elektra 1989
Fetchin Bones Galaxy 500 Capitol 1987
R.E.M. Murmur IRS 1983 co-produced with Mitch Easter
R.E.M. Reckoning IRS 1984 co-produced with Mitch Easter
The Smithereens Especially for You Enigma 1986
The Smithereens Green Thoughts Capitol 1988
The Smithereens A Date with the Smithereens RCA 1994
Chris Stamey Instant Excitement Coyote 1985
Wednesday Week What We Had Enigma 1987
The Red Clay Ramblers Yonder RCR Records 2001

More complete list[edit]

Artist Title Label, Other notes
Rod Abernethy Solo Avanti
The Accelerators Leave My Heart Profile
The Accelerators The Accelerators Profile
Chris Allen Goodbye Girl and the Big Apple Circus Rosa
Chris Allen Things Unbroken Rosa
Arrogance Give Us A Break Sugarbush
Arrogance Prolepsis Sugarbush
Arrogance Lively Moonlight
The Backsliders Southern Lines Mammoth
Richard Barone Primal Dream Paradox/MCA
Matt Barrett The Ruse Moonlight
Beat Rodeo Staying Out Late with Beat Rodeo Zensor/IRS
Bell & Cooper Forty Words for Fear Gaff
Bell & Cooper Postcards Out of the Blue Dogjaw
The Blazers Ten Easy Lessons Moonlight
Jim Brock Tropic Affaire Reference
Brotherhood Of Peace Cuttin' Loose Avanti
Mark Bryan 30 On A Rail Atlantic
The Buzz of Delight (Matthew Sweet) Sound Castles DB
Kim Carnes Gypsy Honeymoon EMI
The Carpenter Ants Picnic with the Lord
The Carpenter Ants Insect Ball Alpo
The Carpenter Ants Ants in Your Pants
Andrew Cash Boomtown Island Canada
David Childers and
the Modern Don Juans
Room 23
John Cody Zelig Belmondo Duke Street/MCA Canada
The Connells Darker Days TVT
Marshall Crenshaw Mary Jean & Nine Others Warner Bros.
Kyle Davis Raising Heroes N2K Encoded Music
Pat DiNizio Songs And Sounds VelVel/BMG
Don Dixon Most of The Girls Like To Dance... Mega DK / Demon UK / Enigma US
Don Dixon Romeo at Juilliard Enigma
Don Dixon EEE Enigma
Don Dixon Romantic Depressive Sugar Hill
Don Dixon The Invisible Man Gadfly
Don Dixon Notepad #38 DAR
Don Dixon The Entire Combustible World in One Small Room 125 Records
Dumptruck Positively Dumptruck Big Time/RCA
emmet swimming Arlington To Boston Epic/Sony
The Fabulous Knobs The Fabulous Knobs Moonlight
Fast Annie Unsafe At Any Speed Chelsea
Fetchin Bones Cabin Flounder DB/Capitol
Fetchin Bones Bad Pumpkin DB/Capitol
Fetchin Bones Galaxie 500 DB/Capitol
Moxy Früvous Thornhill Bottom Line/BMG
G.B. Leighton Shake Them Ghosts Sallycat
The Graphic People In Glass Dolphin
Greer Between Two Worlds Sugarbush; collector’s item in the UK; value US$300+
Guadalcanal Diary Walking In The Shadow of The Big Man Elektra
Guadalcanal Diary 2 x 4 Elektra
Guadalcanal Diary Flip Flop Elektra
The Hangups Second Story Restless/BMG
Hey Mavis Red Wine 2010 Self-Release
Hey Mavis Honey Man 2013 Self-Release
Hootie & the Blowfish "City By A River"
Hootie & the Blowfish Scattered Covered & Smothered Atlantic
Hootie & the Blowfish "Use Me"
In Tua Nua The Long Acre Virgin UK
Jesus: The Epic Mini-series CBS TV soundtrack Sparrow/Capitol
Marti Jones Unsophisticated Time A & M
Marti Jones Match Game A & M
Marti Jones Used Guitars A & M
Marti Jones Any Kind of Lie RCA
Marti Jones Live At Spirit Square Sugar Hill
Marti Jones My Long-Haired Life Sugar Hill
Marti Jones My Tidy Doily Dream DAR
Tommy Keene Places That Are Gone Dolphin
Tommy Keene Back Again...Try Dolphin
The Killer Whales The Killer Whales Moonlight
Toby King Operator Josie
Let's Active Cypress IRS
Original Cast Recording King Mackerel & The Blues Are Running Sugar Hill
Michael McDermott Gethsemane SBK
James McMurtry Where'd You Hide The Body Columbia/Sony
Jeff O’Kelley Just Passing Through Buddy Dog Records
The Pinetops Above Ground And Vertical Soundproof/Monolyth
The Pressure Boys Rangledoon Root-a-Doot
R.E.M. Murmur IRS
R.E.M. Reckoning IRS
R.E.M. Dead Letter Office IRS
The Reivers Saturday DB/Capitol
Rosavelt The Story of Gasoline Gaff
Bland Simpson Follow You All Over the World Gaff
Madison Smartt Bell & Wyn Cooper 40 Words for Fear Gaff; with Jim Brock
The Smithereens Especially for You Enigma
The Smithereens Green Thoughts Enigma/Capitol
The Smithereens A Date with The Smithereens RCA
Sneakers In The Red Carnivorous
Treva Spontaine S'il Vous Plait Moonlight
Chris Stamey InstantExcitement Coyote/TwinTone/A & M
Surfaholics Tiki-A-Go-Go Pixler Discs
Matthew Sweet Inside Columbia
US Secret Service US Secret Service Moonlight
Jim Wann Sings Johnny Mercer;
Pardon My Southern Accent vol 1
Creekmore
Jim Wann Sings Jim Wann;
Pardon My Southern Accent vol 2
Creekmore
Wednesday Week What We Had Enigma
X-teens Big Boy's Dream Moonlight
X-teens X-teens Dolphin
X-teens Love & Politics Dolphin

Additional credits[edit]

Including co-production, engineering, etc.

Artist Title Label, Other notes
Bill Agle Captiva TGS (arrangements)
Mike Cross Born in the Country TGS
The Spongetones WhereEver Land
Rebecca Rippy Telling Stories vocals

Actor[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bledsoe, Wayne (7 October 2016). "Singer-songwrier-producer Don Dixon may be doing the Devil's work". Knoxville News. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Himes, Geoffrey (18 March 1987). "Don Dixon, Out On His Own". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  3. ^ Ira Robbins. "Fetchin' Bones". Trouser Press. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  4. ^ Jack Leaver. "Talk Memphis". Allmusic. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c d Cummings, Jon (3 November 2008). "The Popdose Guide to Don Dixon". Popdose. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  6. ^ Jim Wann. "King Mackerel & The Blues are Running". jimwann.com. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  7. ^ archive (30 April 2000). "Don Dixon: The Invisible Man". No Depression. Retrieved 29 October 2016. 
  8. ^ Harris, Will (2006). "Don Dixon: The Entire Combustible World in One Small Room". bull-eye.com. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  9. ^ Cummings, Jon (2 March 2009). "The Popdose Guide to Marti Jones". Popdose. Retrieved 27 October 2016. 
  10. ^ Wright, Renee (29 August 2015). "Don Dixon & the Jump Rabbits at the Evening Muse". AXS. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  11. ^ archive. "Songs 101: The Lyrics of Don Dixon". pretty famous.com. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  12. ^ a b Ward Law, Matt (29 October 2015). "The Remnants of the Day: Don Dixon and Marti Jones Make Albums at Their Own Pace". Cleveland Scene. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  13. ^ Borack, John (2014). "Some things old, some things new". Goldmine Magazine. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  14. ^ Gerson, Ruth (6 June 2008). "Don Dixon: Songwriter, Producer, Musician in Living Stereo". Huffington Post. Retrieved 28 October 2016. 

External links[edit]