Following the footsteps of Woody and Jack Keroauc."
- From "No Goodbyes" - Â© 2004 Nancy K. Dillon
Nancy K. Dillon is making a name for herself. This gifted singer, songwriter and recording artist from Seattle weaves the textures and rhythms of American folk and country music into her songs and those songs fit very comfortably in today's genres of alt-this and Americana-that. But her sound is painted from a much broader palette.
"I grew up in an extraordinary musical environment. My composer/professor/church choir directing/big band jazz-playing father was the most influential. His life centered around his music and his family. My mother sang hymns around the house. Both my sisters loved to sing and play. I also benefited from hearing and being around some of the best songwriters arising from Oklahoma's deep and rich music traditionâ€”folks like Kevin Welch, Jimmy Webb, Phil Sampson and Roger Tillotson."
There is a subtle sweetness in Nancy's voice that makes it instantly appealing. It's a disarming sweetness, somehow, because her voice is also very direct and precise like a sharpened knife. And after you listen for a while you realize that her work is fueled by a deep appreciation for music that glows like a bed of embers beneath a strong musical sensibility.
Nancy sings about escaping her native red dirt Oklahoma on the opening track of her 2004 release Just Let Me Dream. She may have left town but she is clearly a product of that great musical cauldron that bubbles and boils in the American Southwest. You can hear the wind in her voice. Sometimes you can taste the dust, too, and feel the hot summer sun. â€œYou can leave Oklahomaâ€ she says, â€œbut Oklahoma never leaves you. I go there as often as I can because the land and people so inspire me. Most vividly, I remember the sky and the wind. I think of the endless clear blue days and infinite star-marked nights. My hope is to infuse my songs and sound with a feeling of that red earth, spaciousness and the simplicity and drama of the elements."
Just Let Me Dream has generated a definite buzz. The album has a very open and engaging sound that was captured by the capable handsâ€”and earsâ€”of engineer Garey Shelton in Seattle. It has been hailed by many critics as a wonderfully honest and soulful album. Nancy and her frequent musical collaborator Michael Hill co-produced.
"I rounded up the best players I could find and turned them loose. We wanted to make a record that would breathe and come alive." The album features some virtuoso performances on mandolin (John Reischman), fiddle (Paul Elliott) and dobro (Stacy Phillips)â€”just listen to "Almost to Idaho" and try not to grinâ€”as well as a cameo appearance by Brit-folk rocker, Clive Gregson. But the overall focus of the production is squarely on the songs. Dillon appreciates the magic and mystery of the songwriter's muse. "Songs come to me in all sorts of ways. For example, I don't know what made me think of singing the phrase, 'O Susanna, night is coming on.' But it stuck in my head. I don't even know exactly what that song is about but people respond to it. I play it and the room goes dead quiet... what kind of voodoo is that?"
Both â€œThe Ballad of Mabel Dodgeâ€ and â€œAlmost To Idahoâ€ were chosen as finalists in the Tumbleweed Song Contest. Upon its release Just Let Me Dream was selected as Best NW Release by KBCS 91.3FM and #6 on the American Roots Radio Top 10. It has received international airplay and has been extensively reviewed.
Dillon lives in the Pacific Northwest and has contributed to the Northwest music scene as a musician and a DJ. She was a founding member of the renowned Western swing band Ranch Romance. But it's those Southwestern roots that continue to nurture herâ€”and her soulful voice polishes the music until it gleams and sparkles like fine jewelry. Listen to her perform sometime and see if you don't agree.
Just Let Me Dream CD:
Release Date: June 8, 2004
"Just Let Me Dream" was recorded & mixed between June 2003 and January 2004 at Garey Shelton Studios in Seattle, Washington. Co-produced by Michael Hill & Nancy K. Dillon, many of the songs were written between the summer of 2000 and early 2003 when Nancy turned to realizing her long-time dream of writing & performing her own original songs.
During that time, Dillon & Hill were members of twang-pop band The Nancy Boys with Mike Bristow & Jay Weaver. The Nancy Boys functioned as a fertile songwriting collective with Hill, Dillon & Bristow all contributing original material to the band. Dillon, long a fan of Mike Bristow's colorful & dense found-object folk art began making visual art after Bristow showed her a book of Peter Beard's collage journal art . A frenzy of collaboration & co-inspiration between the two led to Nancy's collages included in the booklet for "Just Let Me Dream".
The songs on "Just Let Me Dream" evoke the youthful desperation of dusty small town America (Crossing 66), the windswept emptiness of the plains (Nothing in Texas), the Saturday night dance floors of southwestern honky-tonks (Play 1-4 Susie and Till The Music Dies) and the Sunday morning gospel of the day after (Revelation and Antioch).
Featuring musical contributions by:
Clive Gregson (vocals & guitar) on "Just Let Me Dream"
Stacy Phillips (Dobro) & John Reischman (Mandolin) on
"O Susanna", "Fire & Soul", "Almost To Idaho" & "Revelation"
~ Best NW Folk Release ~ July 2004 ~ KBCS 91.3FM (Bellevue/Seattle) Music Directors
~ #6 on American ROOTS Radio Americana Top Ten for July 2004 ~ Word of Mouth Productions (WOMP)
~ "The Ballad of Mabel Dodge" ~ Finalist ~ 2004 Tumbleweed Songwriting Contest
~ "2004 Top Albums and Songs - Folk Music Radio Airplay Chart"
~ "Almost To Idaho" ~ Finalist ~ 2005 Tumbleweed Songwriting Contest
Visit Nancy's MySpace Page @ www.myspace.com/nancykdillon!
Check out the artist's website:
1. Crossing 66
2. Just Let Me Dream
3. Almost To Idaho
4. Nothing In Texas
5. Play 1-4 Susie
6. O Susanna
7. Ballad of Mabel Dodge
8. Fire & Soul
9. Tired Heart
10. Antioch/Sacred Harp #277
12. Till The Music Dies
13. Give Your Sweet Love To Me