Gabe Dixon Crosses from R&B to Pop and Jazz on ‘Lay It On Me’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Gabe Dixon has played the sideman for decades, recording and touring with everyone from Paul McCartney and Alison Krauss to the Tedeschi Trucks Band, but his latest solo LP shows he’s just as comfortable taking center stage himself.

The influences on Lay It On Me, Dixon’s third solo effort, range pretty wide from Elton John and Stevie Wonder to even the first couple of Harry Connick Jr. albums, showing he’s not particularly tethered to a specific genre, but certainly comfortable adding in elements of R&B, pop and jazz. The album is in a similar vein to his pervious LPs, but definitely shows some stretching artistically as well, especially on songs like the smoldering title track and the charmingly sweet Susan Tedeschi duet “I Got Your Love (You Got Mine)” or the funked up “I Believe In Our Love.” 

Though Dixon has always filled his records with piano, this album includes organs, tambourines, synths, bells and a slew of horns making for a massive sound. Dixon recorded this one with producer Dustin Ranso who, along with him, played most of the instruments on the record. There are a few missteps along the way, like on the gloomy “Don’t Look Down” that just seems out of place alongside what sounds elsewhere like a triumphant record. And some of the instrumentals feel tacked on.

Dixon recently described going into the recording of this record with no motives and no agenda, just keeping an open mind. “I’ve never done a record like this. There were no constraints, no expectations. It’s the most myself I’ve ever been on an album, which just made the whole experience so refreshing and fun.” And for the most part you can hear that fun throughout. It’s an occasionally addictive vibe that pulls you in on a song like “Everything About You” or on the closing track “Last Train Home,” a perfect cap to the album.   

Photo credit: Shervin Lainez

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