Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Very nice release from Pickxen, a Georgia outfit. Pickxen is a very catchy and clever name. Pickxen is made up of Dixie, Pixie, and MixC. Well those are just their nicknames, but I really like the monikers. These folks aren’t only good musicians, but they are intelligent and humorous. The full line up is as follows: Laura “Dixie” Monk – lead vocals, harmonies, acoustic guitar, ukulele, banjo, and hand percussion; John “Pixie” Monk – bass; Michael “MixC” Garvey – electric and acoustic guitar. harmonies, harmonica, keyboard, and drum programming. These guys are multi-taskers.
Laura Monk’s voice is a real standout. It is strong, yet sweet and soothing as well. The rest of the trio seem to play with Laura’s great voice in mind. The instruments are present and easily heard, but they do not overshadow Laura’s gorgeous voice.
Pickxen is relatively new on the scene, but the players have been around for the last ten years as Laura Monk And High Cotton. That project was more electric and seemed to be a little more centered to country rock, while Pickxen is more stripped down and focuses on folk. In both projects, Laura’s voice is front and center.
Lyrically, the group is very strong. They clearly know how to construct a song with the proper instrumentation that highlights the singing and the words. The words are extremely profound and well written. Take Jubilee (Track 5) for instance. It is about a southern woman who may be a little behind the times. There are some historical references and really profound lines in Jubilee:
Born on April 12th, 100 Years since it started, Her heroes were General Beauregard, And every rebel martyr. George Dickel was a mentor, She wasn't much for Aristotle, Lost from the School Of Athens, Was found in a bottle. She was named for Jubal Early, Or was it Robert E, Lee? She had a temper of a hurricane, And her name was - Jubilee.
That’s heavy, indeed. Laura’s vocals elevate the song into the stratosphere. All of the 13 songs on this release are worthy contenders. Really, there is not a weak link in this collection. It is worth at least a listen and maybe a purchase. Money well spent.