MARTI JONES & DON DIXON
In the early ’80s, with video killing the radio star and MTV ascendant, Marti Jones and Don Dixon were already on the ground floor. After leading N.C. garage pop heroes Arrogance throughout the ’70s, Dixon jump-started the ’80s jangle-pop movement when he co-produced REM’s calling card Murmur. Jones debuted in the New Wave hotbed of Akron, Ohio, fronting power poppers Color Me Gone. In 1985, Dixon and Jones teamed up, first as producer and performer, then as husband and wife. They’ve recorded and played together ever since, supplementing their pre-psych, ’60s-influenced jangle with country, tin pan alley and Southern soul. Once touted as the hipper successor to Linda Ronstadt, Jones now uses her bright but world-weary alto to go as soulful as Dusty Springfield or as gutsy as Bonnie Raitt. As for Dixon, his impeccable taste and way with a tune is legendary. Realizing that they had been playing as a duo for 27 years while recording precious few duets, Jones and Dixon rectified the matter with the 2011 LP Living Stereo. The material on that release is on par with rest of Jones and Dixon’s repertoire — warm and familiar songs that sound like forgotten hits of the last 35 years.