We caught up with singer-songwriter Gabe Dixon during a night off from touring behind his brilliant new album Turn To Gold. Dixon, a hardcore Paul Simon fan, will play Musicians Corner’s 75th birthday tribute to Simon at City Winery on October 24.
What’s your Nashville story?
I grew up here, and, after attending college in Miami, and living in New York City for a year and a half, I decided that the people, the music scene, and the friendly laid-back vibe of Nashville felt more like home to me than anywhere else. Also, it seemed like somewhere I could make a living at music. Fortunately, my wife took a liking to it as well. When I first moved back, 13 years ago, we found a really cute cottage on the Harpeth River, which gave us the perfect balance of city and country life. We’ve enjoyed the diversity of Nashville’s music and artistic community. It’s not too big, not too small, and it's a nice place to raise a family.
Where would you take an out-of-towner?
I'd start downtown at lower Broadway honky tonks like Robert’s and Tootsie’s (where I used to have a regular gig back in the day). My grandfather Robert F. Register was a regular at Tootsie’s for years and earned the nickname “The Mayor Of Lower Broadway.” There is still a plaque on the bar which bears his name.
Recently I hosted some visitors from out of town, and we got one of those hop-on/hop-off bus passes. It was a pretty easy way to see a lot of the city in one fell swoop. Of course we’ve gotta swing by the Parthenon too. Since I’m in Bellevue, I also like to take folks out to the Loveless or the Bellevue Diner for breakfast, to see some art at Cheekwood, and maybe take a hike at Edwin Warner Park.
How much do you love Paul Simon?
I fell in love with the album Still Crazy After All These Years when I was ten. My parents had it on vinyl, and I wore it out. “Gone At Last” with Phoebe Snow on vocals and Richard Tee on piano was my favorite. I occasionally cover “Still Crazy After All These Years” at my shows. And “I Do It For Your Love,” is so gorgeous. The string arrangement gives me goose bumps almost every time. Paul’s writing and artistry have had a profound impact on me. I’ve seen him live at the Ryman, and even had the opportunity to perform with him and Paul McCartney at a benefit a few years ago. We played the Beatles song, “I’ve Just Seen A Face.” I was pinching myself and grinning from ear to ear the whole time. Talk about an amazing experience!
You’ve played Musicians Corner in the past. What drew you to it?
I love that it supports so many local artists. From its humble beginnings on a small stage in one little corner of Centennial Park, Musicians Corner has grown into a truly valuable concert series for the Nashville community. I love playing Musicians Corner because it brings so many kids and families down to enjoy music in a beautiful setting.
Don’t miss Gabe Dixon, Kris Allen, Emerson Hart, The Stellas, Jon Mclaughlin, Jenny & Tyler and many more at City Winery on October 24.
Purchase tickets here before they sell out.