Once in a While

Let’s just start this post off saying that I’m a big Marti Jones fan. Always have been since her first solo disk back in 1985 and I even made her second disk my Record of the Month a year ago.

Last night I thought we were going to see Marti Jones & Don Dixon. They were playing in Canton – and the following night (tonite) in Cleveland. But in Cleveland, it was billed as Don Dixon & the Jump Rabbits with special guest, Marti Jones. I like Dixon, but I was in it for Marti, truth be told.

So we I opted to drive the 62 miles to Canton. But I was duped. It turned out to be the same bill as the Cleveland show. That was kind of waste of $15 of gas….and an additional $10 in the price of the ticket. Oh well.

How to describe the venue? Let’s say, it would be like playing in someone’s basement, mostly because that’s what it was. The lower lever of an art gallery. A basement that holds 150 folks or so, but a basement nonetheless.. I swear we were the only ones there that were not friends or family of Dixon or Jones. I guess that is another price when you go to their hometown for a performance.

Marti only plays 1-2 shows per year and it has been a good 10 years since I’ve been able to catch one…..if you don’t count her coming on stage to play a song or two when Mary Chapin Carpenter was in town.

It is a shame she has scaled back on her music, as not only does she still have a great alto, but she has a wonderful and easy stage presence – which I would have to imagine would be difficult when you only play live once or twice per year and haven’t had a full album out since 2002. But maybe it is different if you’re playing in someone’s basement.

As it turns out, Marti was basically the opening act for her husband and his band. And even they played during most of her set – but they’ve all been playing with her for 20 odd years, so, maybe it’s really her band.

Marti played at least one selection off of each of her five solo albums – some had representation of two songs. But the set was way too short in my opinion (10 songs). She did come back at the end of Dixon’s set to play one or two more of hers, plus a nice cover of “Your Cheatin’ Heart”.

(none of my photographs really came out at all. sorry.)

I could run down the set-list, but I don’t think most here would know the tunes – which is a shame. But she was in great voice and did a great job. I can live without her touring, but I hope she continues to make more records.

Dixon and Jones have a new download-able (only) disk via all the major .mp3 players (iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, amazon, etc). The title track (which she performed) has been available in digital format for a few years, but the majority of the disk is instrumental.

As for the Jump Rabbits – what can I say? It pains me to say I didn’t care for most of the set – since I do like Dixon so much (and I know he reads this blog every once in awhile). James Brock is an accomplished drummer and percussionist. Truly talented. Jamie Hoover, is a great guitarist – but I’m not sold on his vocal abilities at all. Hoover can harmonize well enough, but when he adds his background vocals – he begins to channel the Budweiser Real Men of Genius vocalist.

I don’t have their disk, but afterward, it shouldn’t have surprised me that Dixon wrote only one song. So many of the songs had such trite and repetitive lyrics (“Sputnick”, “Skinny”, “Perfect Girl”, “Amplifier”). Dixon did a great job on his own “Giving Up the Ghost”.

Due to my mood, the weather and the lack of the second half of the show, I have opted not to go tonite to the Cleveland performance. I’d love to see Marti again, but I’ll just skip it I guess. I’ll catch her next time.

Song by: Marti Jones

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