American country singer songwriter Brooks Dixon has appeared once before on this blog. In March this year I featured his track Midnight Shower. It’s a song that features on his latest album Rhododendron Highway which is out today and I just had to give a listen.
By Graeme Smith
Rhododendron Highway tells the story of Brooks’s late 20s and the life events that came in those years. He became a father, he received an important medical diagnosis, and he found himself wondering how his life had turned out differently to how he thought it would be when he was younger.
The reflections start with Charleston. It’s a country track with a beautifully classic feel, built from drums, guitar, piano and harmonica. Cantering along it marks a lively start that leads into Stranger’s Bed. It slows things down and Brooks’s soulful vocals are beautifully compelling. The aforementioned Midnight Shower provides an early album highlight with its confessional and honest lyrics.
Needles marks an emotional turning point, delivered through a melancholic yet lilting arrangement. Store Your Treasure gives us a brighter moment, with a depth in its lyrics about materialism. Would You Say Yes is a gentle and romantic focal point. It’s a song that Brooks wrote to propose and its authentic emotion makes it a highlight.
Married in the Mountains is rich with warmth and atmosphere while After All is outward-facing and defiant. Hey Hey provides some bluesy licks before Rolling Stone is the first of two tracks about finding your place in the world. Second part Good Conversation rounds off the album with a powerful and floating anthem.
If you’re a fan of modern Americana then you’re going to find a lot to love about Brooks’ music. His latest album is a warm and authentic collection that grapples with the joys and horrors of today’s world sensitively. There’s something all of us can relate to on this album.
Rhododendron Highway was recorded at Brooks’s home in Greenville, South Carolina, and in Nashville. It was produced by Will Gawley, Dewey Boyd, and Brooks Dixon. Mixing is by Bryce Roberts and Dewey Boyd, and mastering by Sam Moses. You can check out the album below.