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Music Review - `American Dirt` by Jon Fox (ea)

Jon Fox - American Dirt  (click on image to watch video)

 20 February 2020



If Steve Forbert, Steely Dan, and Bruce Springsteen ever decided to collaborate, it might sound a bit like Jon Fox. The North Carolina native and former long-haul trucker is a bit of a nomad, having spent time in every state except Hawaii. Following a lengthy stay in Alaska, he has also called Nashville and Austin home.  His third album, “American Dirt,” has just been released.

The opening track “Love Is All You Need” has a ‘70s AM radio sheen that could sandwich nicely between “Reeling In The Years,”  “Smoke From A Distant Fire and “Romeo’s Tune.”  The  melodies and arrangements here are surprisingly sleek and polished. But it’s clear from his pleasing,  homespun tenor, as well as heaps of mandolin, banjo and  pedal steel  accents, that his roots are pure Americana.

Songs range from the farmer’s lament of “It Ain’t Rain,” to the piano-driven “Baby Don’t You Leave Me” to the expansive “What It’s Not.” Stand out tracks include the burnished “Forrest Through The Trees,” the jangly hoedown of “Mountain Life,” and the willowy ache of “Tears We Cried.”

The twinkly “My Country,” which is powered by urgent banjo and searing electric guitar, is proudly patriotic without resorting to jingoism. The arrangement and the instrumentation on “Every Town” are sharp and sophisticated, even as the lyrics attempt to explain his sense of wanderlust.


Jon Fox’s music is shot through with tenderness and grace. While he mostly adheres to the Americana playbook, he also manages to color outside the lines.



Music Reviewer - Eleni P. AustinEleni P. Austin - I was born into a large, loud Greek family and spent my formative years in the Los Angeles enclaves of Laurel Canyon and Los Feliz. My mother moved us to the Palm Springs area just in time for puberty and Disco.  I have spent over 40 years working in record stores, starting back in High School.

I wrote music reviews for the Desert Sun from 1983 to 1988. I began doing the same for the Coachella Valley Weekly in 2012.

I live in Palm Springs with my wife and our amazing dog, Denver. 

To Read All of Eleni P.'s Reviews, Click Here





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