On the cover of Gabe Dixonâ€™s latest effort, One Spark, youâ€™ll find him playfully perched upon a piano, dozens of dirty matches beneath his feet as he stares into the stars. Itâ€™s a carefully constructed image â€“ and one that follows Dixon throughout his 12-track, soundtrack-and-radio-ready trek.
From the get-go, Dixon readies himself for the mainstream. â€œStrikeâ€ is a future college-kid favorite with its friendly rhythm and saccharine chorus. Itâ€™s a pattern that pervades several of his tracks: From the single â€œMy Favoriteâ€ to the definitively Dave Matthews and Ben Folds-esque â€œRunning on Fumes,â€ Dixon dives into his contemporariesâ€™ bag of well-used and oft-successful tricks.
Yet, on the earnest and yearning â€œPerpetual Motionâ€ and vulnerable â€œOn a Day Just Like Today,â€ Dixon doles out his best, crafting two of his discâ€™s undeniable gems. The Alison Krauss-backed â€œEven the Rainâ€ and James Walsh-assisted â€œI Can See You Shineâ€ give Dixon the right mixes of polish and honesty, control and vulnerability. Indeed, Dixon is more than his image â€“ and he excels when he remembers to forget it.
One Spark is out now on Fantasy Records.