1999: "More Than It Would Seem"
2002: "On a Rolling Ball"
2005: "Live at World Cafe"
2008: "The Gabe Dixon Band"
2011: "One Spark"
2013: "The Gabe Dixon Band"
Stereo Dig is a local indie-rock trio consisting of Jon Kirkendoll (vocals/synthesizer/guitar), Zach Turner (drums) and Eric Parham (bass). For more information, visit Facebook.com/StereoDig
• What: Nightfall concert series featuring Gabe Dixon.
• When: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 29; Stereo Dig opens at 7 p.m.
• Where: Miller Plaza, 850 Market St.
• Admission: Free.
• Phone: 423-265-0771.
• Venue website: nightfallchattanooga.com.
• Artist website: gabedixon.com.
Even with the best of intentions, it must be hard to say no to a Beatle, but in 2001, Gabe Dixon did just that.
After six weeks recording backing vocals and piano for Paul McCartney's "Driving Rain" solo album, Dixon joined the rock legend for his Concert for New York City benefit.
Afterward, McCartney offered to bring Dixon with him on his world tour, but the offer put Dixon in an uncomfortable position. He had just signed a deal with Warner Brothers Records and was lining up tour dates of his own, and agreeing would mean having to put his own career on hold.
The decision not to join McCartney wasn't an easy one, Dixon says, especially since The Beatles, along with Jerry Lee Lewis and Paul Simon, were among his earliest musical idols. Regardless, he says, it was the right move.
"Either choice was going to be really great, really awesome, so I just had to think, 'Well, which one makes me feel the most alive?'" Dixon recalls. "I told Paul, 'Thanks for putting me on your album, and I wish these circumstances were different, but this is just the decision that, oddly, makes the most sense right now.'
"There wasn't anything special about me that made me the best for [McCartney], but only I can make Gabe Dixon music; only I can do what I do. I believed in myself and that I had something to offer to the world."
During the 2000s, Dixon continued to tour with his band, which he formed in 1999 with his two roommates while studying at the University of Miami. By the time it dissolved in 2009, The Gabe Dixon Band had released four albums of melody-driven, piano-centric pop songs, some of which were licensed for various TV shows and films, including "The Proposal" and "Parks and Recreation."
In a review of the band's final collaboration, a self-titled 2008 release that included a duet between Dixon and bluegrass songbird Alison Krauss, PopMatters described the record as "magnificent" and Dixon's contributions as "elegant [and] ... sensual."
Dixon has spent the last five years devoting himself to his solo career and to collaborative songwriting with other musicians in Nashville, but on Friday, Aug. 29, he will appear alongside a full band once more as the headliner of this year's final Nightfall concert. He'll be joined by Nick Buda (drums), Court Clement (guitar) and Geoff Smith (bass).
He says he won't have collaborated with this group in the same setting before taking the stage at Miller Plaza, but he's confident in their skills and in the power of that uncertainty to energize the evening.
"That kind of keeps it interesting for me and for the audience, I think, because I always try to bring in players who are great and who can play very rhythmically and improvise," Dixon says. "I haven't done a show like this [in Chattanooga] in too long."
Contact Casey Phillips at cphillips@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.