Singer-songwriter Gabe Dixon [who toured as keyboardist and background vocalist for Alison Krauss among others] releases his first independent album, Turns To Gold, on April 8th. Honest and emotional, the eleven tracks, performed largely on upright piano and featuring organ, violin and cello, touch on growing as an individual and the value of love.
Turns to Gold begins with “Holding Her Freedom,” a gospel-flecked number that touches a nerve. Piano and guitar convey the swirling emotions of a woman who has been hurt by love, such that she is afraid to open up, holding captive her freedom to love again. Things turn lighter on the funky, sexy “Crave” about the intensity of love (lust?) when you initially meet someone which flows directly into the gorgeous “Don’t Make Me” a truly romantic tune where that initial attraction solidifies into something that you want to last a lifetime. The romanticism continues with “The One Thing” where he realizes that although he has made mistakes in life, a committed relationship with her is definitely not one of them, a sentiment that continues in the gentle “If I Love You” encouraging opening one’s heart to a love that could “go down in history.”
Clocking in around two minutes, “Same Place” is brief, yet incredibly impactful largely due to Dixon’s warm, heartfelt vocals: “I’ve held you so close, didn’t wanna let go," “Flow Like Wine” is ethereal and earthy (and swoon-worthy): “Love don’t mean nothing without your love," while “The Way to Love Me,” which features Natalie Prass, seeps with a palpable vulnerability.
The project is rounded out by three songs that remind us that love also often includes heartbreak and hurt. The regret of tossing away a love he didn’t earn – and the desire to get it back – features in “These Wheels”; unhealthy habits that don’t ease pain collide in “Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: “There’s a bottle on the shelf and a phone in my pocket both of them calling my name” and a hint of the Beatles can be heard on the emotional closer, "Live Again," which finds him reflecting on moving on: “Sometimes you have to let your heart break……Sometimes it’s no use saving your own skin, sometimes you’ve got to die to live again.”
Turns to Gold explores the joys and complexities of that oft times elusive emotion, showcasing songs that can both make you feel elated and also rip your heart out. But in the end it encourages one to let their heart open, being prepared for the possibility of ache but remaining hopeful that that one true treasure of a person awaits.