The satisfying combination of pinpoint vocal accuracy, basement vocal placement, and graveled vocal tone in Dax’s cover of “The End of the World” hooks the listener from the first line. “Why does the sun go on shining?”
But just wait.
Wait for that signature sound of his. Wait for the powerful nettling, the stinging in his high register that revives the senses. “I wake up in the morning and I wonder . . .”
Once you experience that, you’ll wonder too. Why haven’t I heard of Dax before?
Big D and I met Dax last year for an online radio project. I was the host of a video program for the station featuring singer/songwriters out of Nashville. We taped an interview with each artist and a live performance of two of their original songs. The producer requested that I play piano and sing backup vocals for at least one song at each performance. Dax was the first musician booked for the show – and boy, was it a spoiling experience. Our first phone conversation went something like this:
“Do you have a preference about which two songs to perform, Dax?”
“No, whatever you feel comfortable with.”
“My husband can play bass if you want. I’ll play piano and sing backup vocals. And we may have a violinist for one of your songs. . . What do you think?”
“Whatever you think. I’m excited to see what you come up with.”
There were no detailed instructions on the treatment of the piano solo. No concerns that we might flub up his sound. No ego.
Like a lot of great ideas in Nashville, the radio project didn’t work out, but our friendship and fanship with Dax did. We know big talent when we see it – and it’s ever so easy to root for someone as gracious as he is.
That’s why I was thrilled to talk to Dax about all the good things happening to this great musician – The Country Network, his tribute to Skeeter Davis, and his latest CD Beating Hearts & False Alarms.
Your music video “Where I Belong” recently began airing on The Country Network. Does this feel like a major step forward in your career?
Yes! Any time national exposure or an opportunity for national exposure is presented, I feel like it’s a step in the right direction. It says for a lot for an independent artist to have a video airing right alongside their major label counterparts. My hat’s off to Kent Baily and TCN for providing such a great outlet.
How can people learn more about finding your video on TCN?
As far as I know it’s airing twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night. For more details or specific times I’d check out their website or shoot ‘em a message on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TheCountryNetwork
Although you are a Nashville musician, your sound is not country. Under which genre do you categorize your music?
If I’m talking to business people I’d say it’s AAA (Adult Album Alternative). That covers a lot of ground and includes artists like John Mayer, Train, Adele, etc. My songs are usually very mainstream, commercial, borderline pop with a rock/acoustic/folk edge. It’s lyrical and melodic but it’s also very guitar-driven.
Your strong guitar chops do seem to drive your music. How long have you been playing guitar?
25 years! (So much for trying to bluff my age, haha.)
When did you begin writing your own music?
Almost from the get go. I was nine when I started playing and wrote my first batch of songs shortly thereafter. I then took a few years to learn how to play. When I was 15 I started multi-tracking with two boomboxes and that year for Christmas I got a 4-track cassette recorder. I loved that thing and made hundreds of tapes with it.
I love your powerful new cover of “The End of the World”. I know that Skeeter Davis was your cousin. What kind of inspiration or influence does having a famous singer in the family bring?
Thank You! Growing up I knew very little about her. I just remember once at a family reunion she showed up in a baby blue Rolls-Royce with her then husband Joey Spampinato, who was being courted at that time to replace Bill Wyman in The Rolling Stones. Hopefully I’m recalling all that accurately…
I really didn’t even think much about it at the time. This was pre-internet and really all I knew was that Skeeter had a hit back in the 60’s. We’d always heard rumors in the family that she was very religious and had no interest in secular music so I never thought much about it.
When I finally did reach out to her in my early twenties, she was one of the most open minded, warm and caring people I’d ever met. The first time we spoke on the phone she was actually listening to Eminem!
Let’s talk about something serious for a minute – our mutual love for coffee. What’s your poison nowadays?
Lately I’m not as much of a connoisseur as I’d like to be. I do drink enormous amounts though, so I usually just stick with dark roasts because they have less caffeine.
You co-wrote “Run and Hide” with Grant Craig – producer of your CD, Beating Hearts & False Alarms. You have such a signature sound. Does that make co-writing a challenge?
Under those circumstances, no. We were writing specifically for me with a definite sound in mind. I knew the type of album I wanted to make and Grant and I talked at length about that before any serious recording. Prior to that I’d never really done much co-writing, but with the right person, I think it can take your songs to a whole new level, as I think writing with Grant did for “Run and Hide”.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’ve been in a bit of a stasis period as we were preparing to release the album this fall. Right now I’m still in promo/strategy mode. Album cycles last a long time these days! I am very excited about the next video which is being made with Director Patrick Tohill. That should be out sometime in May.
Where’s your favorite place to eat in Nashville?
Hmmm, that’s tough. Pizza and Mexican are my favorite and there are a ton of great spots for that. I like the Rose Pepper and Los Moraccas for Mexican and Five Points Pizza is great too.
What’s the best part about living in Nashville?
I love being so connected to everything. Here, you’re just right in the middle of it. I’m from a small town in the country where the nearest Kroger is 35 minutes away, so being in the heart of the city is a wonderful thing for me. It’s nice being 5 minutes away from the gig instead of an hour.
– Anita, Noted in Nashville
Learn more about Dax, including ways to purchase his music, below:
TO BUY: http://daxofficial.bandcamp.com