Album Review: Brooks Dixon – Rhododendron Highway

Fans of 20th century country and Americana music will find a lot to like in this new album from Brooks Dixon. The opening track gives treats all around from the easy going instrumentation, to the easy to follow lyrical message, and delightful two part harmonies. The album kicks off to a good start and keeps that classic, timeless music quality throughout.

That opening track is “Charleston,” which provides a solid welcome to the album with plenty of classic influences. The second track “Stranger’s Bed” combines mandolin strumming with some more rock-based instrumentation for a ballad about the feeling of being in a stranger’s bed. The lyrics help the listener connect with the feeling of being unsettled and out of place.

“Midnight Shower” is about the feeling of not wanting to get up the next day for work, but you are enjoying a late shower. The lyrics definitely connect with an ethos of hard work despite difficulty. The instrumentation has a more atmospheric style a little less rootsy than the rest of the album.

“Needles” has a cool swaying rhythm to it with some bluesy keys that set the track apart. The lyrics focus on the feeling of misery where you need time, not medicine for recovery. It’s a song with a lot of self awareness. The line “the devil ain’t a friend of mine” seems to indicate that the song is about rejecting the allure of addiction.

“Store Your Treasure” and “Would You Say Yes” both have a classic mid-20th century folksy charm to them. The latter is a bit of a contemplation on what might happen in a potential relationship. The combination of the two tracks does a nice job of filling out the middle section of the album.

“Married in the Mountains” has the lyrical theme that I enjoy the most, since I spent my first year with my bride living in the mountains of western North Carolina. There’s something inherently romantic about those foggy mountain mornings. The song also includes the lyric for the title of the album. The subtle harmonies and quality organ work in the background does a great job of setting the mood for the track.

The album brings us home with “Rolling Stone,” a bit of a honkytonk style track with more of a country core than others on the album. It feels like the early 80s version of country music. The final track “Good Conversation” has a folksy phrasing and a sincere vocal style. It feels like the kind of track that is intended to get the audience asking good questions about purpose and direction. It’s a philosophical reflection to end a thoughtful and unique album.

Fans of 20th century country music will find a wide range of styles on this album. The songwriting invites the listeners in for connection and contemplation. Give it a spin and share it with friends who also enjoy this bygone era of country music.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.