Oct. 25--Jimmy Dillon
"Six String Man"
The title of this EP says it all. Jimmy Dillon is without question one of Marin's premiere guitarslingers, and he puts his six-string prowess on display on this seven-song, guitar-centric CD, a healthy preview of a full-length album the Mill Valley singer-songwriter plans to release next year.
On the slinky, open-tuned title track, which is being considered by T Bone Burnett for the soundtrack of TV's "Nashville," Dillon pays homage to the King, Elvis, growling the line, "I learned my lesson and I learned it well." And it's true. Since picking up his first guitar as a teenager, he's become a master of rock and blues, paying homage to his musical roots with his musical theater piece "Ascension of the Blues."
Dillon will occasionally veer into world music, as he did in the '80s with Lorin Rowan in the reggae-rock band the Edge. More recently, he and Rowan perform together in the San Francisco Music Club.
A prominent member of the Marin music community, he's been honored with a Milley Award from his hometown, and, as the founder of Blue Star Music School, he's been happily passing on the rock torch to the next generation of musicians.
Charismatic and personable, he's one of those rare performers who can deliver a song with just an acoustic guitar and his sturdy, dependable voice, and does so with the confidence of a true professional on the rootsy "Fool's Paradise" and the hopeful "Hold on to Your Dreams."
But it's songs like "The Storm," a midtempo, minor key rocker that recalls Steely Dan, that showcase his craftmanship as a songwriter, singer and arranger. As the onetime frontman for the late Clarence Clemons' band, he's shared stages with Springsteen, Sting and other big boys of rock. "The Storm" is the kind of hooky, harmony rich tune that could break him out of Marin once again and vault him in front of the national audience he deserves.
Buy it: Free download at www.jimmydillon.com
Hear him live: Dillon's EP release show, performing with drummer Matt Willis, violinist and keyboardist Jason Crosby, bassist Eric McCann, saxophonist Michael Peloquin, percussionist Kelli Dillon and singer Miss Dee, is at 8 p.m. Oct. 25 at Sweetwater Music Hall at 19 Corte Madera Ave. in Mill Valley. $24, includes a download of "Six String Man"
-- Paul Liberatore
If you're a musician or band from Marin with an album or EP that readers can buy or download and want to be reviewed, send your CD and contact information, (if you have an upcoming gig, let us know that, too) to Press Play, 4000 Civic Center Drive, Suite 301, San Rafael, CA 94903.
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