Mason Dixon
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Mason Dixon

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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Jersey Beat"

A couple of years ago, Mike Robertson's old band Miracle Of 86 was performing at a Jersey Beat benefit at Luxx, and played an early version of the song that would become "Beat Me In A Race" on this demo. Robertson was the lead guitarist and sideman of Miracle Of 86, the guy who'd get to sing one song per set; Kevin Devine, the red-headed lead singer, got most of the attention in that band. But I remember Tris McCall leaning over to me after "Beat Me In A Race," pointing to Robertson, and saying, "That's the guy to watch in this band." While Kevin's solo career has been nothing to sneeze at, Mason Dixon has certainly vindicated Tris' prediction; over the last few years, the group has solidified from Robertson's solo project into a confident and powerful band that's become one of my favorites. Devine enchants his audiences with a boyish Conor Oberst-like quavering intensity; Robertson, as frontman of Mason Dixon, sings in a restrained baritone, with a commanding presence that's part Johnny Cash, part Springsteen's Nebraska. By drawing from blues and folk tropes almost exclusively, Robertson's songwriting also seems grounded in something that's both fresh and traditional. This new demo (somebody sign this band already and get a full-length out!) features "Soft & Swollen Summer," an innocent, romantic love song; the aforementioned "Beat Me In A Race," a deliciously self-deprecating pop tune in which Robertson competes with another potential beau by making a fool of himself (spieling off state capitals and getting them all wrong, bragging about his guitar prowess with a super-simple C-F-G chord progression.) "Oh, Somethin" is a showcase for keyboardist Lindsay Sullivan, whose cuddly female vocals add a warm counterpoint to Robertson's steely presence. "You Can't Get There From Here" finishes things up with a bare-bones arrangement that showcases Robertson's lyrical ingenuity, Lindsay's ingratiating harmony vocals, and the band's penchant for straightforward pop songs. Remember the name and check this band out before they're too famous to see in small clubs anymore.

Jim Testa - Jersey Beat Magazine - Jersey Beat


Soft and Swollen Summer, EP, 2005, JMOZ Records
Hurry Through The Night, LP, TBA, TBA


Feeling a bit camera shy


Mason Dixon's 4 song EP, "Soft and Swollen Summer," is the real deal. No matter how hard you try, you can't help but fall for these winsome musicians whose snappy pop hooks will have you singing along to their witty, indie folk rock. Headed by former Miracle of 86 guitarist and vocalist Mike Robertson, this band includes the talents of Miika Grady on bass/vocals, Mike Fadem on drums, and Ryan Smith on keyboards. With focus on song structure and vocal arrangements, these twenty-somethings epitomize pop exuberance. Mason Dixon's playful precociousness shines throughout the EP, particularly on "Beat Me in a Race." Catchy like the Old 97's, but with the sincerity and playfulness of the Mates of State, Mason Dixon can rock with the best of them. - The Deli Magazine