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

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

26 March 2020



Throughout American Dirt, Jon Fox gives listeners a clear picture of what it means to live. Though he opens with an unforgettable exposition on love—think The Beatles if they were born and bred in Oklahoma—the rest of the record runs the gamut of real life, a life that doesn't always include love, a life that sometimes includes heartbreak, death, and simply put, frustration. But even when he's singing about things that aren't as appealing as the universal desire to be loved, Fox seemingly effortlessly paints pictures of American life, pictures that simultaneously feel familiar and brand-new all at once.

With the storytelling aptitude of Chris Knight and James McMurtry and the musical genius of Mike McClure and the fabled The Great Divide, Fox has crafted an LP that stands on its own in 2020 while sounding as if it could have been part of the massive roots-rock movement of the '90s. Though there are many highlights throughout American Dirt—"Forest Through the Trees" is an instant classic and "Every Town" sounds like a long-lost B-side from the late Tom Petty—"Mountain Life" jumps out as the perfect synthesis of what Fox has set out to do with his music.

Born in North Carolina, spending years as a truck driver, and living in towns like Austin and Nashville, Fox both knows his roots and he knows the rest of America, and it shines on "Mountain Life." "I love to reminisce about good ol' days gone by," he sings, adding, "Livin' in the mountains is a special kind of life." For anyone searching for a defense of small-town living, this particular track serves up beautiful vindication: "Leave them cities alone, boys, let 'em burn to the ground / Life is so much easier in a smaller sized town."

Whether it's the breadth of living in America or the search for companionship, Fox has delivered one of the most authentic records of the year. As he sings on album opener "Love Is All We Need," Fox knows the importance of finding camaraderie in this world. "You gotta find somebody to pick you up / Find somebody that you can trust/ Find somebody that you can love / 'Cause that's all we need," he sings. If trust, faithfulness, and love are in fact all that is needed in life, then Fox has offered exactly that and more not just on this tune, but all over American Dirt.  

Music Reviewer - Chuck ArmstrongChuck Armstrong is a pastor and writer living in New York City. As a contributor to The Boot, No Depression, Consequence of Sound, Ultimate Classic Rock, and Loudwire, music has always been part of Chuck's life. Formerly a longtime radio pro, Chuck now resides in Hell's Kitchen with his family.

Read More: Chuck Armstrong - The Boot

To Read All of Chuck's Reviews, Click Here


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