After more than 20 years performing together – including Saturday, live at the Community Performance Center in Rock Hill – Marti Jones and Don Dixon have forged an impressive collective musical career flaunting melodic range, edgy depth, clever but catchy lyrics and a mad mutual appreciation for the quality of life.
Jones and Dixon have managed to do all this together without diminishing their distinct individual traits in the process. Not an easy process, especially within a marriage or the music industry.
On one hand, there’s Dixon, the singer, songwriter, musician and critically acclaimed producer originally from Lancaster, whose list of credits is as lengthy as it is diverse. Highlights range from R.E.M.’s landmark debut to work with The Smithereens, Marshall Crenshaw, Joe Cocker, even Ronnie Spector.
Then, enter sultry Jones with her rich voice and sensitive quality. Some compare her vocal skills to Dusty Springfield or Annie Lennox, but she exerts formidable skills as an artistic interpreter all her own.
Together they wield sassy stage rapport and consummate talent, tossing around defining terms from jangle pop, Southern soul, and alt/indie to pop rock, acoustic pop and contemporary rock.
Jones’ predictions for this weekend’s show aren’t flashy or flamboyant, just the bare necessities, saying, “Well if you’ve never seen us before, we’re not gonna suck,” then there’s that rich laugh again as she continues, “We actually make an effort. We’ve been at this for a long time plus we’re married and that adds a certain something. It binds personality and adds warmth. So we’re just ourselves on stage.”
Of course, there’s always room for a bit of mischief. “I can make fun of him about something,” she joked, “if he’s in the doghouse. We can do funny stuff that works because we can stand each other.”
Is their closeness an advantage? “It definitely helps,” admits Jones. “It’s the only way to do some of it, because it’s always there but we found a balance. He’ll talk about interests, how he loves music –Dixon loves it. He’s very industrious and can’t sit still.”
As for her side, she has other talents. “I was an art major in college,” Jones says, “so I always feel pulled by that – painting is something you can do as long as you want to.” Toward that end, she has renewed her focus on painting and scheduling gallery exhibits, sometimes around the couple’s live shows.
But the music is the tie that binds. Jones acknowledges their good fortune to “how incredibly lucky we are to still be standing on a stage with an audience. I never thought it would be my actual livelihood,” she said, adding, “I know how lucky I am to have the opportunity and not take it for granted.”
Time for a rock show with a heavy dose of contagious fun from Marti Jones and Don Dixon, Saturday at The Community Performance Center, 249 E. Main St., Rock Hill. For more concert details, visit yorkcountyarts.org. For more on the music, visit dondixonmusic.com; and find them together on facebook.
Friday: Chubby Knuckles at Luke’s Sports Bar & Grill, Rock Hill; Well Known Strangers at The Handle Bar Tavern, Catawba; The Rockaholics for Food Truck Friday at Sycamore Brewing, South End-Charlotte; Shotgun Saints at Moochie’s Tavern, Matthews.
Saturday: Rachel’s Ransom at Original Empire Pizza, Rock Hill; Chubby Knuckles at Empire Pizza 2 -Newport, Rock Hill; DJ Jimmy Jam at WingBonz Live, Rock Hill; Soakin’ Wet at Luke’s Sports Bar & Grill, Rock Hill; Mike Faulkenberry & Friends at McHale’s On Main, Rock Hill; Stolen Hearts with Bucky Covington at Bundy Auditorium-USCL, Lancaster; Hoodwinked at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, Fort Mill.
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