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Sugar Hill, GA | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Sugar Hill, GA
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter




"Raw Southern Country-Folk that Warms the Heart and Cools The Soul."

Picks ‘n Vittles

Raw Southern Country-Folk that Warms the Heart and Cools The Soul.

Some days I despair when I look at the pile of albums waiting to review and then other days I stumble on ‘rough diamonds’ like this and can’t wait to scream it’s delights to the world at large!
First of all, a friend who is a regular RMHQ follower suggested to John Monk from Pickxen that he contact me via the Twitter; which he did then followed it up with the CD and included a charming letter that made me want to listen to their music straight away.
Probably because Laura Monk’s delicious voice reminded me of the young Nanci Griffith I was immediately entranced with the simplicity of opening track Better in Tennessee and remained through to the end.
When the nifty banjo picking and Twangtastic guitar on track #2 7lb Rhyme filtered from the speakers I knew I was listening to something really special, and the bittersweet love song more than matches the music too.
Pickxen are a trio, Laura and John Monk alongside Michael Garvey and are based in and around Atlanta Georgia, and much to my personal delight have christened themselves, Pixie, Dixie and Micksy!
Laura’s warm and sensitive voice will melt even the coldest of hearts on Weight (Sic Transit Gloria Mundi) yet later, on Star she rocks the pants off another sad love song.
Baring in mind I’d never even heard of Pickxen 7 days ago, Picks n Vittles has the ability to sound like I’ve known the songs all my life; with none being any finer than Harmony which sounds like it was written to be the last song you would ever hear; and if it was it would be a great way to go.
The album close with the only cover version here; a live version of Wayfaring Stranger that showcases Laura’s marvellous voice and John’s fancy geetar pickin’ to full and glorious effect and fades out like a vinyl record before a (well known) ladies voice says “We’re closed!” It’s a cool way to close out a very interesting and, indeed ‘cool’ album.
With intricately complex guitar, banjo and bass throughout and some wonderful arrangements on songs like Poor Lucy’s Crooked Mile and Breath I can’t help but wonder why this group haven’t ventured North of the Mason-Dixon Line……they certainly deserve a wider audience.
As I said in the intro, Laura’s voice does remind me of a young Nanci Griffith at times, but at others Allison Krauss springs to mind and at least once I thought I could be listening to a young sibling of Emmylou Harris……but all along it was the smoky sultriness of Laura Monk. Funny that. - No Depression

"Picks 'n Vittles by Pickxen"

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan

Very nice release from Pickxen, a Georgia outfit. Pickxen is a very catchy and clever name. Pickxen is made up of Dixie, Pixie, and MixC. Well those are just their nicknames, but I really like the monikers. These folks aren’t only good musicians, but they are intelligent and humorous. The full line up is as follows: Laura “Dixie” Monk – lead vocals, harmonies, acoustic guitar, ukulele, banjo, and hand percussion; John “Pixie” Monk – bass; Michael “MixC” Garvey – electric and acoustic guitar. harmonies, harmonica, keyboard, and drum programming. These guys are multi-taskers.

Laura Monk’s voice is a real standout. It is strong, yet sweet and soothing as well. The rest of the trio seem to play with Laura’s great voice in mind. The instruments are present and easily heard, but they do not overshadow Laura’s gorgeous voice.

Pickxen is relatively new on the scene, but the players have been around for the last ten years as Laura Monk And High Cotton. That project was more electric and seemed to be a little more centered to country rock, while Pickxen is more stripped down and focuses on folk. In both projects, Laura’s voice is front and center.

Lyrically, the group is very strong. They clearly know how to construct a song with the proper instrumentation that highlights the singing and the words. The words are extremely profound and well written. Take Jubilee (Track 5) for instance. It is about a southern woman who may be a little behind the times. There are some historical references and really profound lines in Jubilee:

Born on April 12th,
100 Years since it started,
Her heroes were General Beauregard,
And every rebel martyr.

George Dickel was a mentor,
She wasn't much for Aristotle,
Lost from the School Of Athens,
Was found in a bottle.

She was named for Jubal Early,
Or was it Robert E, Lee?
She had a temper of a hurricane,
And her name was - Jubilee.

That’s heavy, indeed. Laura’s vocals elevate the song into the stratosphere. All of the 13 songs on this release are worthy contenders. Really, there is not a weak link in this collection. It is worth at least a listen and maybe a purchase. Money well spent. - Twangri-La


1)  'Picks 'n Vittles'  copyright 2015  (All songs SESAC except 'Wayfarin'Stranger' - public domain)

2)  'Selah'  copyright 2017  6 song EP  (All songs SESAC)



Pickxen hails from the foothills of North Ga and brings with it a sense of humor and a passion for good simple music.  Holding dear to the words spoken by American song-writer, Harlan Howard: “All you need is 3 chords and the truth," Pickxen crafts songs that can melt your heart and then knock your socks off.  The trio, made up of Dixie (Laura Monk) providing vocals, rhythm guitar and ukelele, Pixie (John Monk) on bass, and Micksy (Michael Garvey) adding lead guitar and harmony vocals builds their music around Laura’s strong, yet sweet and soothing voice.  

Officially classified as Americana, their music skips over genres and embraces many sounds.  Providing a little something for everyone, they have played festivals, corporate events, house concerts and wineries through out the Southeast.  Having released their first cd, Picks ’n Vittles in 2016, an EP, Selah, in 2017 and they are currently working on album #2 to be released in 2018.

Band Members