Miranda Dodson
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Miranda Dodson

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States
Band Folk Pop

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"Music Review - Miranda Dodson: Change A Thing"

Miranda Dodson is an Austin, TX singer/songwriter. I know of her music because she is the sister-in-law of Jonathan Dodson, pastor/planter of Austin City Life Church. I almost turned down the chance of getting a review copy of Change A Thing because I didn't want to risk not liking what Jonathan pointed me to. But I took a chance. And here we go.

I like a lot of music of various sorts. Plenty of it is by people with so-so voices. A lot of the best music out there is by singers that are pretty good but not great. I rarely hear a new album or artist and say, "Dude, that chick can sing!" This is one of those albums and one of those artists. But she also sets that voice in place and works the message. She doesn't show off. It's a tool.

Miranda's voice is really interesting. She has power, range and control. It can sound full and rich. It can also sizzle a bit. In an email to her I said her voice has a "fizzy edge" to it. Something like Nelly Furtado's voice at times. She can also turn the fizz up for one song (like "Too Late") and fill her voice out a bit in another (like "Fly"). I hear some of my favorite sirens like Neko Case and Jenny Lewis too. No question about Patty Griffin as well, as you can see from Miranda's great cover of "Up To The Mountain."

Miranda writes her own stuff, but the songs aren't overly lyrical or streams of consciousness. So while I hear hints of Joanna Newsom in her voice, I find nothing of her vast storytelling. This isn't wordy. This isn't really story. This is snapshot. As I hear it, it's life meets God and captured in a moment. And the argument is brief, to the point. Someone like Newsom adds a million brush strokes. Dodson is taking pictures and tweaking how we feel about them through adding some musical black and white tones, or upping the saturation, or cropping in to less-noticed detail.

Track list & brief comment

Too Late - (video, video2) - Love it. Catchy, but not in typical ways. When the chorus soars a bit, I'm riding it.
Slow Motion - (video) - Slower song. Lovely. Thoughtful. Country flavored. Singing in boots & a hat as lovers cling to one another on beer-splattered hardwood.
Home - My favorite song, by far. I still haven't figured out exactly why yet. I think it might be how it starts acoustic & quiet and lets loose a bit at the chorus. I LOVE the chorus.
change isn’t gonna change a thing;
sold our souls a long time ago
tryin’ to get back, tryin’ to get back

where do we come from, and where
will we go from here where, along this road, did we lose our souls?

Sitting In Limbo - A Jimmy Cliff cover. Fun. Hammocks. Sweet tea. Still saying something.
Stone - Yikes. Slows down and hits you between the eyes. *Marriage.Not.Working.*
Prodigal - (video) - Great song. Wide appeal. Catchy, toe-tapping.
This lump in my throat grows larger and larger
It’s my pride, I know, and it’s getting harder,
I must have swallowed…I will wallow

It seems as though I’ve reached my destination,
no need to make your reservation
The seats are taken, save for one at the bottom

King - "This is no kingdom." Immediately appealing and enjoyable.
I Will Be Free - Love the Brandi Carlile flavor I hear in this one. Positive. Driving. Moving. Hopeful.
Fly - One of the most interesting tracks on the album. Structure harder to discern for me. Interesting sounds, strings. The melody follows the flight of the butterfly in the song. Beautiful.

you carry the rainbow on your wings,
you dance so I can hear your wings
you carry me like you carry thieves,
you carry hope like the Prince of Peace

Never Be The Same - Short. Contemplative. Simple. Not simplistic.

I highly recommend and have been thoroughly enjoying Change A Thing. I hope you'll pick it up. - Reformissionary


"ReFueled Magazine Interview"

I?had a chance to sit down with singer/songwriter Miranda Dodson recently and talk about developing her craft, her travels and the musicians who contributed to her upcoming release "Change A Thing".

So the folks over at KUT Austin recently asked after an interview with you..."Where did she come from?" So we'd like to ask the same thing...where did Miranda Dodson come from?

Haha! I think that I have been here for a while, but kind of under the radar, learning who I am as an artist, figuring out how to do this thing well. I didn’t want to just run out there with the wrong songs & the wrong sound and with the wrong producer. I needed to take the thought and time developing my craft. If I had pushed too hard too fast I feel like that would have been a mistake. So I took my time. It also takes a lot to convince yourself to do something like this. I had to be honest with myself, “Do I have a gift that other people want to participate in?” or do I just love to sing? …after some time of playing out, writing, learning to edit my songs & networking with great Austin musicians that I really admired, I thought that the answer was “Yes” I should take this seriously, really put my heart and soul in to it… just see where it takes me.

We hear you're a world traveler. How does traveling affect your musical content, and what parts of the world have you shared your talents with?

Traveling is one of my life’s passions. Participating in other cultures… other ways of life… It is just so interesting -- I always love people and their cultures more when I get the opportunity to experience it first hand. Traveling makes me think about life differently… it always takes my perspective and broadens it….realizing that not everyone thinks the way you do, and trying to put yourself in their shoes to understand why. Floating in and out of world-views always makes me think about life’s bigger question. It's kind of a head-trip, but it always compels me to write. My husband and I lived in Oxford, England for a little while as he earned his Masters degree. I was able to do quite a lot of thinking & writing while I was there. Most of my writing was awkward and incomplete…not too much of it will ever see the light of day, but it was an integral part of my growth as a songwriter. I am so grateful for that time. While we lived there I did a little bit of playing out, my first gig in Oxford was at the same pub that Radiohead had their first gig as well… so I felt like it was a good omen. Thom Yorke actually lived right down the street from us and we would see him from time to time walking his son home from pre-school. We never approached him cause he is little and scary…we would mostly just elbow each other and try to “play it cool”.

Tell us about the new album and the musicianship and production behind it?

When I thought about starting work on a new recording project, I knew that I needed a great producer. In the past I had just kind of gone with whoever was at hand, which isn’t always bad, but I just wanted to make a more educated choice and one that would benefit the music foremost. I chose Robert Harrison (Future Clouds & Radar, Cotton Mather). I knew that Robert hadn’t really produced anyone other than himself and the Future Clouds & Radar record “Peoria” had just come out. As I listened to that record I was just more and more convinced that Robert was not only the producer for the job but also the artist for the job. I could have gone out and picked any number of great producers here in Austin that would have done a fine job… but I needed these recordings to rise above the collective folk/alt-country noise and grab the attention of listeners. Robert is just crazy enough to push the folk/alt-country boundaries and yet smart enough to know when to stop. On top of that…he is just a fantastic guy, a pleasure to work with. “Change a Thing” started as a collection of about 10 songs…some made it to the album…some are still living in my notebook… and some were written along the way. We thought at first that it would just be an EP with “Too Late”, “Prodigal”, “Slow Motion” and “Fly” –those were the first four that we completed. Once we got to the end of those we kind of sat back and thought… “WOW- that doesn’t sound like an EP… that sounds like it should be on a full-length record.” So then we started looking at the other songs I had written, we then added in “Stone” and“I Will Be Free”, “Home” & “Never Be The Same”… Robert and I collaborated on writing “King” and at his suggestion we added in the Jimmy Cliff cover “Sitting In Limbo”. I had always recorded very economically: you get all your pre-production done, get your drummer & bass player who play together often to come in and track simultaneously…one or two days later all of the drums and bass are done… etc. Good way to record for sure… but the way that the process unfolded for me was different this time, I thought that I was recording an EP, and Robert had never recorded another artist before… so we went a song at a time. It was more of looking at one song at a time, making each song as strong as we could make it, while keeping the sonic palette controlled so that all the songs would all fit together as a collection in the end. –It was a challenge, but I think that we pulled it off. As we rolled through production Robert instinctively knew who he thought would be great musicians for the songs… and Austin is blessed enough to have some of the best musicians in the nation. So we got Rick Richards -Drums (Ray Wylie Hubbard) George Rieff- Bass (Jakob Dylan, The Court Yard Hounds), Derek Morris (Alpha Rev), Joshua Zarbo- Bass (Monohans, Spoon, John Vanderslice) and others to sit in… they were all incredible musicians, they each brought so much to the quality & creativity on this record. It was a true collaborative effort.

"Change A Thing" will be out this month, what are your plans for the big release, and what can we expect from you after it's released?

Yes! We have been working so hard on every aspect of this record and are so excited to get it out there. We are throwing a CD release show at the famed Stubb's (indoor) here in Austin on Friday, June 11th w/ special guests Jason Poe (Jets Under Fire) & Aaron Ivey. It will be a great show. I even have my friends Dave & Brian from Alpha Rev stopping by to play some strings…so yeah…it should be really fun! After the release we are working on putting together a Texas Tour that will include Dallas, Denton, Waco, Houston, San Antonio and more so keep check the site for added tour dates. I also plan on releasing some singles later in the year, I have been writing a lot lately and am very excited to get these songs out there as well. If folks are interested they can join my Facebook page to stay up on those details.

"Change A Thing" will be released on June 11th at Stubbs - Austin, Texas and nationally on June 15th. - ReFueled Magazine


"Austin Daze 'Change A Thing' Review"

Miranda Dodson—Change a Thing: Simple, pure, alt folks with a bit of progressive edge greets the listener of Miranda Dodson. Dodson chose a producer for her album that was first and foremost an artist (Robert Harrison of Future Clouds & Radar & Cotton Mather). With Harrison’s experimental approach and Dodson’s pretty, hypnotic vocals it’s clear that the match was a good one. Although this is Dodson’s first full-length record, she has recorded previously with self-releases.

5.5 McRiprock’s - Austin Daze


"Wildy's World Review 'Change A Thing'"

Austin, Texas singer/songwriter has an amazing voice, but she wins listeners over with her heart. Pouring herself completely into every song, Dodson seems to have a talent for placing herself in the moment of the song, bringing to life the people, places and events about which she sings. After three self-produced releases, Dodson set her sights on her first full length album for 2010. Working with producer Robert Harrison (Future Clouds, Radar), Dodson updated her folk sound to include elements of rock and pop on Change A Thing.

Dodson opens with "Too Lat"e, a subtle pop tune that features Dodson vocalizing in a mild soul style. Dodson's voice has a bit of an edge here, but it can't hide the gorgeous tone with which she sings. "Slow Motion" takes on a gentle country flavor, and Dodson's voice opens a bit to reveal a richer voice than even appeared on the opening track. "Home" is a heartfelt and emotional number about finding your place and then getting there. Dodson shows her ability to really become the song here, pouring tremendous emotion into the song without over-playing her hand.

Dodson shows off a quirky side to her songwriting with "Sitting In Limbo", hitting listeners with a quiet catchiness that will sneak up on you. It's the highlight of the album; a tremendous bit of song craft. "Prodigal" seems to reflect the difficult of being the favorite son or daughter, particularly when things go wrong. Dodson's treatment of the subject is subtle and indirect, masking the emotions that drive the conversation. "King" is a cute little daydream in song with a warm and heartfelt vocal line you're certain to like. Over the last three songs Dodson gets out her alternative musical thoughts. "I Will Be Free" is interesting but may be a tough connection for many listeners. "Fly" is eminently complex for someone in the folk/rock genre, perhaps a sign of more ambitious attempts to come down the line. Dodson closes with the brief but heartwarming "Never Be The Same", a loving message from mother to child that any mom listening in can't help but recognize.

Miranda Dodson doesn't hit you over the head with her thoughts and musical ideas. Her voice will garner a lot of attention, but Dodson prefers the subtle approach as a songwriter, building up the song just enough to get you interested, but keeping her distance just a tad so that you come to her. This trick is a subtle and powerful one for any performer to maintain, particularly while pouring your heart and soul into the performance. The few who have this ability seem to be innate and I doubt Dodson is the exception. It's a gift that Dodson is willing to share, and on Change A Thing she shares in abundance.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5) - Wildy's World


"Roxanne Wilson 105.9 The River"

"Her voice will move you!"
- Roxanne Wilson | 105.9 The River Austin


"Peer Comments"

"Often compared to Mindy Smith and Patty Griffin, Miranda is an up and coming artist who is not only naturally and undeniably talented but she is also dedicated to the craft of songwriting. We were thrilled to include Miranda Dodson's new single "Too Late" on Music For The City Vol 1."
- Nate Navarro - Music For The City


"Peer Comments"

"Miranda voice is directed by her heart and it soars without bounds. And it's not just her voice. Like any talented songwriter, Miranda's songs reflect who she is with sincerity and spirit."
- Joshua Zarbo | Bassist - Monahans, Spoon, John Vanderslice


"Peer Comments"

"Miranda Dodson is a breath of fresh Texas air. Not in terms of what most might think when you think "Texas", but fresh air like what those of us born here thank our lucky stars for every time we return - Pure and clean with all the aromas of natural surroundings yet unspoiled. That's Miranda's voice. Her ideas and her song-writing are equally captivating - honest, straight forward and intelligently down to earth. Miranda is the real thing. She shows a true pioneering spirit in her vocal gift and her song-writing craft that will keep her career shooting upward for a long time to come."
- Laura Modecai - BBA Management & Booking


"Skirt! Magazine 'Change A Thing' Review"

"This is the first major release for this singer/songwriter who hails from Austin, Texas. With a powerful voice and haunting melodies this album is destined to become a big hit with fans all over." - Skirt! Magazine


"Babysue 'Change A Thing' Review"

Although she has put out some music releases in the past, Change A Thing is Austin, Texas-based Miranda Dodson's first proper album. And the good news is...it's a keeper. The press release that accompanied this CD compared Dodson's music to babysue favorite Mindy Smith... a good and appropriate comparison, but Miranda's music is more pop-oriented with less of a country flavor. And wow...what a voice. Dodson has a really cool genuine vocal style that is immediately real and genuine. But songs are the real meat here...as Miranda and her friends present ten melodic thoughtful mid-tempo pop tracks with credible style. Producer Robert Harrison did an excellent job here...allowing for plenty of creativity in the arrangements while focusing mainly on the vocal melodies. Smart intricate modern pop tracks include "Too Late," "Sitting In Limbo," "Stone," and "Never Be The Same." Smooth, warm, and real. Top pick.
- LMNOP.com Babysue


"Austin360.com 'Change A Thing' Review"

Very nearly the first thing you’ll hear on folk-rock singer/songwriter Miranda Dodson’s “Change A Thing” is a stomp — hearty and assertive and sounding for all the world like a proclamation of intent. If any single word encapsulated “Change A Thing,” it’d almost certainly be “stomping” — big, brash and bold, it’s a loud record with all the polish of a major label effort. A devastating band of ringers back up Dodson, from former Spoon bassist Joshua Zarbo on “Sitting in Limbo” to Alpha Rev’s Derek Morris fielding the soft keys on “Slow Motion” to Kullen Fuchs’ tuneful trumpet turn on the hopeful “I Will Be Free.” Fortunately, Dodson is more than up to leading such a talented band, with a voice that trembles on the spare “Fly” but soars on the anthemic “Home.” Impressively expansive for a full-length debut, “Change A Thing” unfolds with equal parts passion and class.
- Patrick Caldwell - Austin360.com Austin Music Source


"Austin Chronicle 'Change A Thing' Review"

"With Robert Harrison of Future Clouds & Radar ably producing, Miranda Dodson has it made, especially with guests like Charlie Sexton bassist George Reiff and Alejandro Escovedo cellist Brian Standefer. Clearly on the alt edge of singer-songwriter country-folk, Dodson's own songs twinkle ("Never Be the Same," "Slow Motion"), but her cover of Jimmy Cliff's "Sitting in Limbo" is a thing of beauty."
- Margaret Moser - Austin Chronicle


"Song Of The Day - KUT Texas Music Matters"

"I have just heard Miranda Dodson's unreleased CD 'Change A Thing'...wow! Produced by Robert Harrison (Futrue Clouds)...she has a show at Stubb's June 11th. WHERE DID SHE COME FROM??!
We just had Miranda stop by for an interview...what a sweetheart, and what an amazing talent. Anyone who writes about music likes to feel like they've discovered someone special. Well, I guess we can't claim to have discovered her, but she's certainly someone special and deserves considerably more attention than she's received on the Austin music scene so far."
- David Brown - KUT Texas Music Matters


Discography

Change A Thing LP 2010
Seriously EP 2004
Miranda LP 2002
Cord of Three Strands LP 1999

Photos

Bio

Pure & intimate...Miranda Dodson's voice is like an old friend you haven't seen in a while...familiar...refreshing & when you leave you think..."we should do this more often." Her songs are simple and pure, Alt Folk with a progressive edge. Miranda Dodson is one to remember.
Miranda's innovative folk winds through guitar strings, around vintage horns and forward-thinking synths, through wide-ranging-heart-filled vocals to turn listeners into believers. With lyrical images that reach right into the imagination, Miranda draws the listener into story and into sound. From impassioned alt-country ballads to fun head-bobbing folk-pop each track of her album "Change A Thing" stands strongly on its own but also hangs together united by collaborative creativity.
With Producer Robert Harrison (Future Couds & Radar & Cotton Mather) at the helm & Lars Goransson (Alpha Rev, What Made Milwaukee Famous, The Solider Thread) sitting in as mix engineer and co-producer, this record is a true collection of artistry. A blend of folk-pop & alt-country, this record features some of Austin's best musicians: George Reiff on bass (Jakob Dylan, Court Yard Hounds), Rick Richards on drums (Ray Wylie Hubbard), Joshua Zarbo on bass (Spoon, John Vanderslice), Derek Morris on piano (Alpha Rev)... and more! This strong rhythm section sets the foundations for a record that teams with quality & creativity... a perfect compliment to Dodson's soaring vocals and down-to-earth lyrics.
A native texan, Dodson makes her home in the "Live Music Capital of the World" - Austin, TX. While this is Miranda's first concerted effort at releasing a full length record, Miranda has previously self-released three other recordings: "Cord of Three Strands", "Miranda" & "Seriously". Dodson has also been apart of several compilation albums including "Life Is Precious" (Wes King Tribute) & "Music For The City Vol. 1" - a compilation of Austin's best artists benefiting Austin's best local charities. This compilation also features: Alpha Rev, The Soldier Thread, Quiet Company, Brennen Leigh and more. Miranda was also featured is Austin's First Night Parade, Miranda was invited to be 1 of only 3 music floats ringing in 2010 playing live with her band to over 50,000 Austinites. Dodson was also featured in Music For The City's Hope For Haiti Benefit Concert that sold out The Parish and raised over $17,000 for Haiti's orphans.
Before moving to Austin Miranda spent much of her college career writing, recording and touring all over Texas and the Southern states, during this time she was invited to tour in Germany in 2002 and won 2nd place in the 2002 Duct Tape Songwriting contest, steadily gaining a solid fan base all along the way. After moving to Austin in 2007 Miranda began writing the material that would be "Change A Thing". Producer Robert Harrison who is known for his innovative experimental rock was an interesting choice for the folk songstress, "While looking over my collection of songs" says Dodson, "...I knew that I needed a producer who was first and foremost an artist themselves to bring the full production of these songs to fruition..." Harrison's experimental nature was a perfect match with Dodson's hypnotic vocals and heartfelt delivery of her truth-filled lyrics.