Colby Dix, i am. it is. you should be. | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Colby Dix, i am. it is. you should be. 

Album Review

Published December 11, 2013 at 12:06 p.m.


(Self-released, CD, digital download)

Most Vermonters likely know Colby Dix as one-fourth of the band Touchpants, a foulmouthed local supergroup of sorts that also includes Chris Friday, Aram Bedrosian and Phish’s Jon Fishman. That band is notorious for its aggressively non-politically-correct brand of humor, a base, off-color style that makes Tenacious D seem like Raffi by comparison. But as he reveals on his debut solo record, i am. it is. you should be., there is more to Colby Dix than dick jokes.

In truth, Dix has accomplished far more as a musician than simply being part of a Fishman side project. As an engineer and/or performer, the Berklee grad has worked with the likes of country superstars Brooks & Dunn, indie popsters Matt & Kim, locals the Jazz Mandolin Project and jam stalwarts the Breakfast, to name a few. That’s a diverse resume. And it’s one that informs the wide-ranging sounds found on his freshman solo outing.

Dix’s varied musical interests are unquestionably a plus, and he generally wears his coat of many colors well. “Closer Walk” is a pretty, slow-burning alt-folk cut that bears some resemblance to the work of Boston’s Joe Pernice in his Scud Mountain Boys days. “Forget This” is a scintillating number that should get the jam band set a-wiggling. Dix follows that up with an elegant acoustic gem, “I Know I Know I Know,” that tugs at the heartstrings. “Too Far” is an ambitious, atmospheric epic that hints at an affinity for Dawes. “Away” finds Dix vacillating between a clean falsetto and a strained chest voice that suggests time spent with a Justin Vernon record or three. The album closes on a trio of songs, “Try as You Might,” “WTF” and “20 June,” that further display Dix’s chameleon quality, venturing into ethereal indie folk, gritty alt-rock and a sparse, tender acoustic ballad, respectively.

Dix’s multifaceted approach is intriguing. But if his record has a flaw, it might be that he takes aim at too many styles. Individually, almost all of these songs are well crafted and compelling — though these ears could do without the adult-contemporary leanings of opener “Two.” The issue is that, taken collectively, the album struggles to settle into a cohesive groove. But that’s a minor gripe, considering the record’s many other fine qualities. And, given the cherry-picking manner in which most listeners consume music now, perhaps it’s actually beneficial. In any case, i am. it is. you should be. is a strong debut that often borders on brilliance and reveals an overlooked talent.

i am. it is. you should be. by Colby Dix is available at Dix plays a release show at Nectar’s in Burlington this Saturday, December 14.

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About The Author

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor and also edits What's Good, the annual city guide to Burlington. He has received numerous state, regional and national awards for his coverage of the arts, music, sports and culture. He loves dogs, dark beer and the Boston Red Sox.


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