Raising a glass to Vernon Dixon
(Sooner or later, I’ll put together a post here about some tech project. But this is more fun.)
Tonight I will be on stage again with my friends in the band Vernon Dixon. I never thought I’d be in a country band, but bandleader Katy Vernon Thomasberg is a good friend, great songwriter, and has a fantastic voice. After Felonious Bosch came to an end in 2012, Katy developed a book of new material featuring close harmonies with singer Drew Dixon (thus the band name.)
Once the material was ready for performance, Katy asked me to come along and play bass, freeing her up to sing lead and direct the band. The drummer is my rhythm section partner of 16 years, Renée Bracchi. Boiled In Lead‘s violinist David Stenshoel is also featured on the album Corn Whiskey, and live as schedules permit. The “core band” also includes the versatile Pat Mavity, brilliant rockabilly guitarist Alan Subola (Bad Companions, Vibro Champs), plus pedal steel man Jeff Waldeland.
Along the way, I’ve also been maintaining the website VernonDixon.com (rebuilt this year to be mobile-friendly using the Foundation responsive framework – there’s some geektalk).
The band got great results with a number of videos recorded “live in the basement” using a Zoom 4-track recorder, but the highest level of production we achieved is with a newer Katy song called “Cheap Beer.”
This video started live in the basement, but with Drew Dixon having drifted away, Katy recruited Jason Vee to overdub acoustic guitar and build up the harmony vocals (recorded at my studio with the venerable Digital Performer and an incredibly inexpensive Tascam condenser mic). We shot a set of duo closeups at one of our neighborhood “friendly dives,” the Schooner Bar, and then built the storytelling further with a summer day in the backyard and on the porch, featuring floating beer cans, tomato drumming, the photogenic canine Balto, and a colorful original drawing by Katy.
Here’s the result, edited using Apple’s Final Cut Pro, and available on Apple Music. Vernon Dixon will come to an end next month, but it looks like I’ll be on board the train as we move on to the next station.