Dixie Dirt
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Dixie Dirt

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Metro Pulse Dixie Dirt Review"

“... Vulnerability abounds at a live Dixie Dirt show. Audience members may freefall in their own cells of lonely thought, but at the same time there’s this togetherness — everyone is bobbing heads and mouthing words, communing for the nurturing they came here for.
The music is cathartic and conflicted, a slap of pain that wakes you up and gets inside you.”
- — Metro Pulse, May 2005


"Digital Skillet Dixie Dirt Review"

“Knoxville's Dixie Dirt does not sound as its name implies. The band does not play Appalachian melodies, country, or Americana roots rock. Rather, this band is equal parts Neil Young, Sonic Youth, Ragged Glory, with a little dirty Knoxville sound thrown in for good measure. Dixie Dirt makes organic, gritty, and ambitious songs that begin with soft restraint, building to grainy kaleidoscopic intensity.”
- — Digital Skillet mp3 blog, www.digitalskillet.blogspot.com, April 2005


"Ramblin Man Show Review"

“I try not to gush, really I do. But this was an A-1 superfine rock 'n' roll show. The CD they were celebrating is mighty nice, too. It sounds like it could have been recorded in a major L.A. studio, but Dirt drummer Pete Bryan engineered it himself at the band's Fort Sanders
practice pad, ‘The White House.’Dixie Dirt’s tunes celebrate the ups and downs of living, the epiphanal moments of certain relationships, dealing with the city one calls home. The lyrics are by singer-guitarist Kat Brock, mostly ... I think. Brock has a knack for capturing curious moments in the aftermath of ... something. Something big, something small, whatever.”
- — Randall Brown, staff writer, Knoxville News-Sentinel, “Ramblin’ Man” blog, May 9, 2005


"Dixie Dirt- Pieces of the World 4 out of 5"

Knoxville’s Dixie Dirt played Bonnaroo this year, but I’m pretty sure that they confused more than just a few of the jam band lovers in the audience. If they are a jam band, then they are the only jam band in the festival’s history that has an obsession with minor chords—and probably the only kind of jam band that my worn-out musical tastes can appreciate.

Like Slint upon discovering melody—or the Pixies doing Neil Young covers—Dixie Dirt is a pretty amazing band. Their third album is a slick combination of everything that’s good about rock music: uniqueness, chops, passion and energy. There is not a single misplaced note here, and from the quietly building opener, “So Good, So Bad” to the stormy two-part, 18-minute “Sleep” to the waltzy “15th Street,” the songs sharply slide through Pieces, driven by Kat Brock’s shaky voice that’s (as Neil would say) as real as the day is long.



- The Pulse Chattanooge -Bill Colrus


"Pieces of the World Cd Review"

This is an extremely melancholy piece of work. Driven by quiet, simplistic guitar melodies; slow, calculated drumming; bass lines that hauntingly weave in and out; and the somber, angst-driven crooning of vocalist Kat Brock, PIECES OF THE WORLD begins slow and depressing. There is a dark, driving sadness that permeates the album (much like the sorrow of Joy Division). However, the intensity picks up during cataclysmic tracks "Sleep Part I" and "Sleep Part II". Overrun by Arabic guitar styling and stronger distortions and melodies, the instrumental "Sleep Part I" is a full-on psychological attack, a battle against the demons of regret—a battle that finds a new positive path within "Sleep Part II", when suddenly Brock's female vocals explode out of the darkness in a very dynamic fashion, taking control of the depression and leading the album on to a positive conclusion (like the sing-along "Dance Song"). - Skratch by Norberto Gomez, Jr.


"Pieces of the World CD Review"

I'm impressed. I had never heard of this band before (though this is their third full-length), so I had no idea what to expect from this. What I did not expect was over an hour's worth of often stunningly brilliant material that ranges in terms of particular style (the band has certainly succeeded in creating an uncategorizable sound), but never in terms of somber atmosphere or powerfully moving emotion. It reminds me a few different artists, but I'm not naming names, because there's a really curious blend of influences here, many of which come from circles that I myself never really travel in, but the end result here is something I appreciate 100%, and it really hits me pretty hard, so I'm quite enthusiastically into this disc. What's it like? Well, the title track, for example, is a nine-minute epic that very curiously walks a line between dry, natural indie rock and the type of dark, moody ballad you might hear from anyone from Bruce Springsteen to Neil Young, and yet not at all like any such traditional songwriting in terms of its abstract structure that builds around repetitious lulls and restrained, pulsing drums that are barely audible behind the droning, winding guitars - not to mention the way that the vocals sort of come and go as they choose, leaving the piece largely instrumental, and without any hint of verse/chorus arrangement in the very least. The vocal performance is quite impressive throughout the disc, with lead vocals delivered by chief songwriter Kat Brock and at times accented by other members of the band, where her soft delivery and somewhat limited range is really quite effective and engaging, especially considering the bare honesty of her lyrics (which aren't included in the booklet, but can be picked up in bits and pieces throughout - "I laugh when it's not funny, I laugh when I don't get it, but I'll pretend I get it, stay up all night and talk shit, go to bed and forget it…"). There's definitely somewhat of a twang to her voice at times, perhaps since the band hails from Knoxville, TN, and that might indirectly add to the melting pot of influences swirling around in these songs, but whatever the case I'm a big fan, and I think the character of her voice is a very unique and valuable attribute for the band to possess. Another longer track, the 7+ minute "Driving" is built almost entirely around one lone set of riffs - a slow arpeggio in the right channel and some chorused chords in the left, with keyboards gradually increasing in volume in the center along with layers of singing deeper behind the instrumentation; with percussion finally coming in past the five-minute mark as the guitars start to increase in volume and regain control as the two riffs blend together and lock into more structure with the rhythm section. The joint "Sleep Part I" and "Sleep Part II" are among the few segments that actually get to the point of full blown distortion and some caustic guitar work that acts as a bit of a departure from the slow pacing and calm darkness of the majority of the album, though admittedly I'm not totally sold on that aspect of the songwriting. There is indeed a good deal of promise present, but I do prefer the softer, sorrowful edge of some of the other tracks (though the latter component "Sleep Part II", does achieve a greater balance that I can get into). They can also start to lose me with some of the keyboards in "Long Distance", which is somewhat of an odd track (basically the only one I think I might dislike) in its cinematic shifts from jazzy drumming and quirky synths to almost narrative singing over faint basslines and percussion - which almost amounts to some sort of gloomy lounge music or something!? Not my favorite track, which is unfortunate since it's almost nine minutes long, but… curious, nonetheless. Vocals take the lead role in "15th Street" as well, over quiet keyboards and swells of guitar feedback that eventually form a concrete chord progression five minutes into the seven-minute running time, quickly increasing in volume and density as the vocals basically dissipate. It's still opener "So Good So Bad" that sticks with me the most though, using a slow, monotonous guitar line beneath the vocals repeating, "You're gonna have to stop, 'cause I can't breathe," before accompanying horns come in to close on a shockingly successful note: So simple, yet so amazing. I have no quarrels with the recording either. Everything sounds crisp and natural with a lot of dense presence and warm tonality. Sometimes it sounds like they intentionally dry things out and add some distance to elements of the mix, which is also nice, but for the most part things are pretty consistent in terms of overall feel and texture. I think the distorted guitars in ("Sleep Part I" and "Sleep Part II" specifically) could use a little more oomph to better match the fullness of the vocals and the lush clean passages emphasized throughout the disc, but these are rare instances, so it's not something - Aversion Online


"Dixie Dirt, Pieces of the World (self-released) Rating: 8"

Dixie Dirt isn't at all like the Dixie Chicks nor do they offer up dirty, sleazy Southern Rock jewels. Instead the band is very similar to a jazz-inspired Knife in the Water if fronted by Alanis Morissette judging only by the slow, dirge-like pace of the minimal, barren "So Good So Bad" which is very, very good. The horns add a definite color as well that one might not expect. The title track opens with an almost U2 guitar but never reach that anthem-ish height. Here they lead you in and have you trapped with a finely built alt. country/alternative rock gem of a number. It's rare to be hooked into a record two songs in, but I dare you not to be with this one. Think of Dixie Dirt as listening to Wilco and thinking they can one-up Tweedy and friends and this album is that. This is what they almost do on the gorgeous "Badlights" that recalls Kathleen Edwards. Edwards also comes to mind on "15th Street". Some songs are slower tunes that open with long instrumentals like "Driving" but it's easy on the ears especially given the arrangements such as the galloping "Sleep Part I" with its slight Middle Eastern, psychedelic flair. Ditto for The Cure-like "Sleep Part II". After an average "Dance Song", Dixie Dirt offer up "Dance Song" which is anything but -- another slow but terribly precious tune with harmonica and guitars and repetitive harmonies fading out. [Amazon]
— Jason MacNeil
- Pop Matters


"Our Critics Pick"

DIXIE DIRT Though they borrow from sources like Joy Division and Cat Power, this Knoxville quartet play an operatic sort of post-punk that has little precedent. On their Pieces of the World CD, lengthy compositions begin as rhythmic skeletons that gradually take on mass as moody guitars and vintage synths make entrances and depart. As the intensity rises, vocalist Kat Brock and guitarist Angela Santos emerge as principal voices that share a weary melancholy and barely controlled anger. The effect is lyrical and anguished, having more in common with La Bohème than the music of their slow-core peers. The Basement —PAUL V. GRIFFITH
- Nashville Scene


Discography

Springtime for the Hopeless and Other Ideas
On Our Way Like We Never Met
Pieces of the World

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Dixie Dirt formed in 2000, quickly gaining recognition as one of the most original groups in Knoxville. Along the way, Dixie Dirt established itself as a powerful regional draw, playing in cities all over the Southeast., with such national acts as Rilo Kiley, Lucero, Califone, The Posies, Canyon, and The Black Keys. This band has three stellar albums to its credit, “Springtime Is for the Hopeless and Other Ideas,” “On Our Way Like We Never Met” and its latest album, “Pieces of the World.” The four members — guitarist/singer/songwriter Kat Brock, guitarist/keyboardist Angela Santos, bassist/keyboardist Brad Carruth and drummer Pete Bryan — have organized a beautifully moving rock opera and survived the music scene of a college town, turned heads with their creativity and originality, performing in front of thousands as part of the Knoxville Sundown in the City concert series, the annual Brewers Jam and, Bonnaroo.

Dixie Dirt is not a genre band. The group has been compared to such bands as Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Low and the Pixies, but such comparisons are simply a bare-bones framework of reference. It begins as a subtle tug — the melodic howl of electric guitar, the harsh whine of straining speakers, the low hum and steady rhythm. The pulse quickens as you’re struck, enthralled by the girl with the guitar howling into a microphone. It's more than just a rock band; it's a passionate approach to music that few, if any, bands can rival. They don't just play music — they feel it, and they force the fans to feel it, too.

“We're completely wide open, with no limitation on genre or style,” according to Santos. “Any new idea that we get or are even interested in, we'll go 100 percent headfirst into. We don't try to stick with one specific sound or one specific structure for songs. We're all wide open, and we all have creative input in it. Pretty much anything anybody comes up with, we'll dive into it.”

“The thing that attracted me to Dixie Dirt then is the same thing that attracts me to it now — it makes me feel whole, Carruth says. “It fills something that not just any band could fill. I think everyone in this band feels that.”

“I can’t picture my life without it. It makes me more introspective. I’ve never had a connection with other people, not even musically, that I do with people in this band,” adds Bryan.

And then there’s Brock. Behind the microphone, despite her sprite-like appearance, Brock is firmly in her element, summoning from depths that reach beyond her physical frame. But the energy, she quickly points out, comes as much from her bandmates as it does from within her.

“This is my soul,'' Brock says. “You can have a blast playing rock ‘n’ roll songs and get along with your bandmates and have a really good time drinking beer and playing your guts out, but this band makes me cry.

“It gives me goosebumps, and it makes me face myself. This is a very, very special group of people that make special music, and I recognize that. I know we make really special music. Whether it’s good to people or not, they can't deny that it’s special. I think it's undeniable.”