Take Care: Daniel Dixon and the Ultimate Portland Experience

Portland continues to be a land of talented misfits shaping the course of modern music.  Daniel Dixon pokes his head out of the hoard of talented underestimated musicians crowding western Oregonian streets.

The ultimate Portland experience (I perhaps erroneously assume) is to sit in a coffee shop on a rainy day talking with the 20/30-somethings about some hipster ideal, some political idealogy, or a new cool indie band.  I'll forsake the former two and focus on the latter though I'd make a lousy hipster (couldn't bring myself to wear skinny jeans) and I only drink starbucks coffee.  That's not true (I mean about the coffee).

There's nothing attention seeking about Daniel's music but even in the simplest evaluation, I just want to keep listening.  The next story; the next line.  A new image.  To me, this is modern indie folk at its best.  No need to shy away from distorted vocals, wild pictures, grim realities, roughed-up experiences.  Daniel's progressions are patient and progress on a calm time table.  If he wants to take two minutes to groove with a simple guitar line and some reverb, then he does.  Casting Away could be the anthem of 98% of Portland's young hipster crowd:

    it's hard to get ahold of yourself
     this late in the game
     but someday i'll do good
     i'll put my hand to the plow
     and choose the thing i know i should

Agreed, Daniel, agreed.  Sans skinny jeans, throw me into that coffee shop on a rainy Saturday and right now I couldn't think of a better song to push through my headphones while catching up on the latest issue of Scientific American or whatever publication might be able to interest a wandering mind.  I'll wander on down the list of tracks to Rest On You:

    and there's so many whisperings
     about how i should be living
     and i'm so tired of the fight
     i can't keep my eyes open
     can't see where i'm going
     and i just want to rest on you

This would be anthem #2 for the post-college 20/30 something who graduated right into the recession, was forced to re-align hopes of a thriving career, and move into the city in search of...well...maybe a job and a cup of coffee and perhaps a new pair of skinny jeans.

Track 8 makes me picture a park on the other side of town and everyone has made arrangements to be there for a cook-out family reunion.  It's been years since the whole family has been together.  The kids have grown, the adults have weathered well, but weathered nonetheless.  Gray hairs are now tough to hide; earned through experience: the things you thought would be small instead kept rest from your eyes.  You want everyone to know you, to see how you've changed, to appreciate and respect how you've matured and to want your opinion - be interested in your new ideas.  You all secretly love each other but the word is never mentioned.  Dysfunction hangs in the air.  Words referenced about past misunderstood events and situations that are too late to explain and too serious to talk about without a licensed family psychologist to weigh in and without a handful of tissues to mop up unforgiven tears long left sleepless and alone.  Almost inappropriately the park is gorgeous, the food is delicious and you try not to think about how much you'll miss everyone.  Everyone.  After the day is over you drive home smiling with sandy bare feet.


Yotam Ofek said...

Good read!

timothy graham said...

glad you liked it!

jFOrce said...

thanks for thinking of us. i just finished a cup of my single origin small batch locally roasted coffee when i stumbled upon your blog. to affirm some of your suspicions - my jeans are skinny, rain is frequent, bands are abundant and this morning (from the position of atheism) I had a nice argument with my sister about the perennially uninteresting topic of whether or not there is a god.

here is a favorite http://deathsongs.bandcamp.com/

timothy graham said...

ha! perfect! thanks for the bandcamp link, i'll be sure to look them up. i'm curious to know who won the argument...

jFOrce said...


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