Artist: Gabe Dixon
Album: Turns To Gold
Label: Rolling Ball Records
Release Date: 04/08/2016
Wildly pounding pianos into kindling, like a devilishly frenzied Jerry Lee Lewis, is one way to rile up an audience. Ever the romantic, that’s not Gabe Dixon’s style.
Handling with care the keyboards – a trusty old upright being his favorite here – he operates with a delicate touch throughout Turns to Gold. Dixon’s overwhelmingly earnest and gently rendered piano-based Americana flows with folk-pop melodies fashioned from mostly acoustic instrumentation both soft and warm.
Turns to Gold, the successor to 2011’s One Spark, is the genuine article, its bittersweet songwriting undeniably sincere and openhearted and accented with blues and country elements. Walking a fine line, Dixon occasionally succumbs to excessive sentimentality, as he does on the wheeling merry-go-round “Flow like Wine,” featuring the banal observation: “Oh, love don’t mean nothin’ without love.” Toss that anomaly aside, and Turns to Gold‘s charms become manifest in the impassioned, intoxicatingly tuneful love letter “The One Thing I Did Right” and the rousing, gospel-tinged opener “Holding Her Freedom.”
Rollicking and joyful, “That Redemption” evokes a feverish tent revival, while “If I Love You,” with its sandy percussion, twinkles and smiles knowingly at the object of its affection. Singing in sparkling harmony, Dixon and Natalie Press duet in the brushed, sashaying “The Way to Love Me,” more proof that Dixon has found the Midas touch.
– Peter Lindblad