Gabe Dixon is a piano player and vocalist who played with Paul McCartney and could give Billy Joel goosebumps. David Ryan Harris is a guitarist and singer/songwriter who has played with John Mayer, The Dave Matthews Band and Santana while maintaining a solid solo career. Either one of those artists would be worth seeing on their own but, luckily for us, they're touring together.
“We do two solo sets,” says Dixon. “Usually we flip a coin at the beginning to decide who's going first. Usually we play a song or two on each other's set, as well. It just sort of depends on how we're feeling. Sometimes I'll be in the middle of one of my last songs and I'll look up and he's onstage singing with me. Sometimes it's a surprise and sometimes it's planned, but we have a good time.”
Listening to both their newest albums, there's a common thread to their musical styles, but vocally they are pretty far removed. Dixon's new record, “Turns to Gold,” stripped down and folky with the songwriting taking front and center. His vocals are reminiscent of James Taylor in his heyday and the songwriting has a little Paul Simon mixed with a dash of Townes Van Zandt.
Harris' newest, “Lightyears,” bounces between funk, blues and folk effortlessly with vocals that carry the sweetness of Ben Harper with the falsetto of Smokey Robinson.
“I think we both like what the other one does,” says Dixon. “We have a lot of the same influences and have written a few songs together. We've actually known each other for a few years so there's definitely a common musical bond happening.”
- Gabe Dixon plays Bend's Astro Lounge 12/5. Photo Shervin Lainez
The combination of their musical styles is something that should have been dreamed up much sooner. “I've known him since we were set up on a blind songwriting date in 2007,” says Dixon. “We've written together here and there but in the last couple of years I've been seeing a lot more of him because we have the same publishers and managers. Our managers had the idea for us to tour together and I thought it was just brilliant.”
Regardless if they ever tour together again, Dixon and Harris are making something unique by touring together. Not enough artists team up with another musician to play solo sets opposite each other. This type of collaboration shows that Dixon and Harris are much less concerned with egos than with making beautiful music together.
Gabe Dixon & David Ryan Harris
“The Twobadours on the Run Tour”
Monday, December 5. 6pm.
Astro Lounge, 939 NW Bond St.