Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Chance of a Lifetime

One of my holiday gifts from 710 were tickets to see husband and wife recording artists Don Dixon and Marti Jones in concert. I'm 100% sure I've mentioned them previously.

The duo reside in Canton, OH. They tour here and there, but not frequently. While Dixon regularly releases albums  - solo or in some kind of group - Jones hasn't put out a solo disk for a dozen years.

Jones' Match Game (1986) would rank in the top 3 of any Desert Island Disk list I concocted (though it desperately needs remastering).

When I first saw them live, I was with my friend Jon, in Columbus, on a frigid January evening in 1991. It seems to be a pattern: it was a cold and blustery January night when 710 and I saw them in 1996 and this last Saturday. We've seen them other times, but not in the dead of winter.

We walked in a few minutes after the scheduled start time - as the drive was horrendous with the snow. The usher told us just to enter and go up onto the stage.


As it turns out, though the concert was at the Akron Civic Theater, which holds about 2500 folks, there were only about 50 seats, all up on stage. Only 38 people were actually in attendance (yes, I counted!).  How cool was that?

Since this was Marti's hometown, more than 50% of the folks were relatives, friends and neighbors. She actually stopped after the first song to ask 710 and myself if she knew us. "No - just a big fan" was my reply.

When Jon and I saw the duo, there were a few more folks than at this gig, but not many.

It was only the two of them, no other musicians. For the most part Dixon and Jones traded off some songs and did a few from their duet disk from three years ago. Those songs presented better live than on record. But the set list didn't change up much from the last time I saw them a few years ago.

Marti's voice is still great and her guitar work is pretty good. She did at least one song from each one of her albums (she only has six) and then some from the duet disk with Dixon. Don's songs centered on his last few solo releases - nothing from earlier works except "I Can Hear the River", which he's been closing his sets for decades now.

Best of all, Marti did a new song from a forthcoming album!

A new disk?  That was a welcome surprise. No release date was mentioned, but the song she did was good. Honestly, I am never sure if she's ever going to record again, so I'm always delighted when she does.

She said all the songs were written and music recorded, she just had to put her vocals on them, and the disk would have a Bossa Nova style, which probably would suit her voice. I even liked the tentative title of the disk: You're Not the Bossa Me.

No encores or anything. Dixon came up and talked to us for a few and thanked us for making the trek. I'd met him a few times before (not that I think he'd remember), but insisted we go say hi to Marti. I would have - and even tried. During the concert there was an off the cuff remark on how her great grandfather killed someone and now some lady was cornering her and talking about anything ancestory.com could have provided. There was no end in sight to that conversation, so we just left.

...and took the horrid, snow covered drive back home. I told 710, no matter who the artist might be, no more concerts in Akron in January. Ever.

Just for fun - and I know it's not My Music Monday - I'll leave you with one Marti song and one Dixon song. It should be noted that Marti Jones was my first My Music Monday selection when I started doing that thread.

I was torn on which Marti Jones song to select, but I'm picking one of my favourites, "Lifeboat", because it's a very simple arrangement that shows off her voice. It's from her last disk, My Tidy Doily Dream.  Dixon's production is clear and, again, simple, but with some great nuance.

I had a similar quandary about a Dixon song. He has a lot of really good music, but I'm looking to appeal to the masses here. My readers might know him, unknowingly, as Big Fun - that group in the movie Heathers, who had the song "Teenage Suicide (Don't Do It)", which was really just himself and Marti. Or as the producer of R.E.M. and the Smithereen's first two disks.

Anyway, I am taking a stab and doing "One Lonely Question" from his 1989 release EEE. All the harmonies are his, but it's a nice textured and layered performance.

Yes, it was a fun night - almost ruined by Mother Nature.

Song by: Marti Jones


Anonymous said...

I glad you got to go! Weather be damned!

Mark in DE said...

Aside from the torturous weather, it sounds like a great night!

I've never heard of either singers, but enjoyed the songs you included in the post.