Reviews for One Bird Two Stones...
ALL MUSIC GUIDE
Unlike most of its hard-rockin' new millennium counterparts, Texas trio Dixie Witch rarely explodes into manic spells of stoner rock head-banging, but rather tends to lay back and coast along laid-back highways paved by Southern rock grooves. The piss-poor production values aside, there's much to love in the band's second album, One Bird, Two
Stones, which features a wealth of inspired head-nodding anthems like "Drifting Lady," "Makes Me Crazy," and especially the Skynyrd-esque "The Wheel." Singing drummer Trinidad Leal employs a convincing Dave Wyndorf-styled moan 'n' yowl
technique on both the unusually hard-driving "Turbo Wing" and the more typical stride of "On My Way," while the standout "More of a Woman" simply flips the guitar riff from Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" inside out. And to wrap things up with a flourish, lengthy, lazy closer "Traveler" offers an admirable tour de force by guitarist Clayton Mills, including electric, slide, and acoustic work. With so much strong material weighing in the album's favor, it's really a pity having to deal with such a frustratingly muddy sound mix, but then perhaps this is as Dixie Witch intended. Whatever the case, most lovers of gritty and honest Southern rock are likely to forgive these technical issues in order to see through to the great tunes below.
Ed RivadaviaApril 2004www.allmusic.com
It's common knowledge among those lucky enough to see this band live that no one rocks harder than Dixie Witch. No one. Far removed from but unfairly lumped into the burnout/stoner rock genre, Dixie Witch is one of the few bands playing classic rock as it was meant to be played. No keyboards, no net to catch you when you fuck up. This Austin band is the smell of dust from the road, sweat from the lights, and maybe a six-pack too many before taking the stage.
The majority of the Small Stone roster lives for the road, and the goal when recording a studio album for a primarily live band is to translate that energy to the sometimes too-pristine medium of the CD. Herein lies the difficulty and the draw. I've tended to view the Small Stone releases as primers for the live show, and I figure if listening to a disc makes me want to see the band when they come through town, it's done it's job. Sometimes it works for the band, sometimes against them.
Not so with Dixie Witch. If you have seen them, this disc will bring back hazy memories of smoke, booze, and a trio I'd bet on against any straight up rock band up to and including today. If you haven't, then One Bird... will have you scouring the local entertainment rags for Dixie Witch dates.
From the Molly Hatchet riffing in 'More Of A Woman' to 'Traveler' with it's Marshall Tucker harmonies, Trinidad and company know where they came from and where they're going. If Dixie Witch had been born 20 years earlier, no one would be shouting "Freebird!".
Lord RandallJanuary 2004www.rebelx.org
BIG TAKEOVER MAGAZINE
Heavier than a throng of truckers coming out of a three-hour chow-down at Hometown Buffet, this crushing juggernaut of a record is neo-Southern rock at its finest. Though comparisons to peers like Halfway to Gone and Fireball Ministry are sure to be made, there's no question that this band of Texans is deeply entrenched in the tradition of Grand Funk Railroad and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Though produced by one-time Butthole Surfer Jefferson D. Pinkus (who lends his pipes on "Here Today Gone Tomorrow"), there's not a trace of the Surfers' zany or noisy tendencies here, this is straight-forward, hard-rock, the kind that shuns gimmicks and tricks of any sort. Dixie Witch makes brutal and brutally honest-barroom-brawl music. Certainly not for the faint of heart...
- JROctober, 2003
Dixie witch raised a few eyebrows with their 2001 debut, Into the Sun, one being Small Stone Records. The Detroit Indie liked the band's Southern rock fuzz enough to sponsor Dixie Witch's second full-length. Throughout One Bird, Two Stones, one thing's as obvious as a 7-foot transvestite: Dixie Witch exudes more energy than most hard rock outfits, mostly because they're a trio whose singer also happens to be the drummer. On the road, such a setup is sink or swim, as the Denton threepiece successfully learned on the "Southern Domination Tour" with Alabama Thunderpussy and the Suplecs. "Get Busy" is exactly what this cinder-block band does in the opening salvo, beefy drum loops, spidery basslines, and crunchy chords melting into a riff-driven rhythm. Classic Seventies guitar rock is clearly the Rosetta Stone here, but Sun Belt flavors appear in the gritty molasses grind of "Makes Me Crazy" and the slide guitar of "Traveler". Most tunes deal with the rock canon of drinkin', ladies, and touring, but "Here Today, Gone Tommorow" is about grieving and existentialism. Nice dashes of acoustic seasoning on the "The Wheel" and "Traveler" help distinguish One Bird, Two Stones, as does the overall sonic character, thanks to catalyst J.D. Pinkus of Honky. Dixie Witch may not be genre busting, but their Southern by the grace of God rock is a welcome respite from plebe rock.
- David LynchAug. 29, 2003
This is kinda like when an ex-girlfriend spends all of her seething time at the gym, and then comes strolling around the old haunts 6 months later, looking like Barbarella by way of Monsters of Rock, or something. I mean, itĂs recognizable territory, but itĂs suddenly so much fuckinĂ better, ya know? And unlike said gone-bad-girl, this recordĂs willing to hang around for awhile. See, Texan thunder lizards Dixie Witch were once the sludgiest, loudest, stoner-doom crunchers you ever did see. They came rolling into town once a few years back, and the kids in the front row had blood trickling down their ears, man. Fuckers were just gonzo back then, and they rightfully established themselves as the undisputed heavyweights of the stoner rock set, a title they couldĂve rode like a Mustang for years, if they wanted. Which I figured they would, really. So it came as a complete surprise when I slapped ˘One Bird÷ into the car stereo and free-flowing 70Ăs Southern rock filled the Ford Tempo. IĂm not even talking about redneck dope rock like Alabama Thunderpussy or Halfway to Gone, either- I mean Allman Brothers meets Soundgarden meets Skynrd on a tour bus going to Georgia. Of course, itĂs still plenty heavy, with its thick, ropy blues riffs, and itĂs floor cracking backline thud, but the overall effect couldnĂt be anymore different. Dixie Witch arenĂt just some stoner rock band anymore- theyĂre something bigger, and better. LetĂs just call Šem good Šol American Rock and Roll, and weĂll fill in the blanks later. This is the kinda record that could make you decide to leave home and hit the road with nothing but a Greyhound ticket and a transistor radio, destination anywhere but here. A classic? Well, they donĂt make those anymore, but as close as you can get in these desperate times, yeah.
Ken M.August 2003www.sleazegrinder.com
HIGH BIAS MAGAZINE
On its second album One Bird, Two Stones, Denton, TX power trio Dixie Witch is a bit lighter on its feet than it was on its debut Into the Sun. The band still has Clayton Mills' pulverizing power chords and sizzling solos, Curt Christenson and Trinidad Leal's rumbling rhythms and Leal's voracious vocals that rampaged through its freshman effort, but on this record it adds stronger hooks and a less bottom-heavy feel. The ghost of Black Sabbath doesn't haunt One Bird as much as it did the previous disk; the triad has cranked up its Southern rock influences and let a little air into its arrangements. You might say the Witch is re-emphasizing the "roll" part of "rock & roll." Cool rockin' tunes like "Goin' South," "Turbo Wing" and "On My Way" don't spare the wattage but still have a weightless feel. Overwhelming but not oppressive is also the best way to describe "Makes Me Crazy," as sensually gratifying a slice of stoner rock pie as you're likely to taste this year. The band even tries a couple of ballads; "Drifting Lady" and "The Wheel" will bring back fond memories of times when rock ballads didn't have the nasty appellation "power" attached. Dixie Witch has long been tapped as a leading light in the underground heavy rock scene, and One Bird, Two Stones is ample reason why.
For fans of: Solarized, Mountain, Stillwater
Michael TolandAugust 2003www.highbias.com
THE ELECTRIC BASEMENT
At times, Dixie Witch enters the same vague, quirky, murky realm as heavy without trying too hard BOC-isms you either love or not. At other times, they surge, kicking up desert dust and stirring cattle skulls with something closer to sheer power, though only really letting loose when it counts a la "Bomber" from the James Gang. Whip this up and let it froth with the warm purr of Priest's "Sin After Sin" and you have a tasty little thang that is hard to resist. The charm often comes from the playful "jamming" which, thankfully, rarely wastes a note and the fact that it sounds more well thought out than most of indie dusty amped rebel rockers. Yet by God, this is so of the earth, you cannot dare doubt its authenticity. Take "The Wheel", a southern inspired ballad come anthem that wafts away with more soul and grit than a 6-pack of wine cooler GNR pseudo Southern Rock that permeated the Use Your Illusion albums. Dixie Witch understand that the guitar sounds the most beautiful when it is at its most untouched, polished or Pro Tooled, beaten down and dulled. This is their strength for sure. Not everything here is epic or masterwork level, but most is damn close, with great thanks to the almighty vibe. In the end, one of the best efforts in a genre that barely exists but is one of the more interesting come out of the garage, stoner, Sabbath, Southern pride inspired splatterings.
Brian ColeJuly 2003electricbasement.com
I've been tough on anything remotely "Southern Fried" lately. I really don't have a reason other than the self-imposed constraints of the genre seem to limit creativity, so you end up hearing the same thing over and over again. And how many "Southern Fried" riffs can you handle shoring-up stories of "whiskey drinkin', lady chasin' and hell raisin'" before the whole friggin' thing rings a little hollow?
The above, however, in no way applies to Dixie Witch. True, a studio recording doesn't capture the true essence of this band (a more powerful live experience would be hard to come by) but on this outing the production is "live" enough to give you a hint of the electric Behemoth within. DW also shys away from the whole "whiskey drinkin', lady chasin' and hell raisin''" paradigm in search of more passionate subjects close to the band's heart. The lyrics on these ten songs is part of the beauty of this remarkable band... Dixie Witch are the consummate road dogs, ever touring, and that's what they write about. They write what they know and if anyone knows the road, it's Dixie Witch. "The Wheel" may replace Bob Segar's "Turn the Page" as the perfect road song. Different roads, different woman, different stage every night. "Turbo Wing" will just plain rip your 'nads off. "Traveler" is the new "Green Grass and High Tides". Fucking great.
The Witch also is as accomplished in bringing a tear to your eye as it is bringing the rock. "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" is a tribute to a lost friend that tugs at heartstrings - both in drummer/vocalist Trinidad's emotionally expressive vocals and Clayton Mills' amazingly passionate guitar playing. In fact, there are so many places in these ten songs where I stopped the CD in mid-solo and scanned back again to hear that Clayton rip it up... the guitar must be this man's therapist. Very emotional approach to the guitar.
There are few...very few... that have the "magic". Dixie Witch are one of those fortunate few. This is gonna be on a lot of people's top ten lists for the year, I'm betting.
Chris BarnesJune 2003\r\nwww.hellridemusic.com
DELUSIONS OF ADEQUACY
Texas-based Dixie Witch has only been playing together for a few short years. In 2001, they graced the music scene with Into the Sun, a great album that left me salivating for more. It has been a long wait for their second album One Bird Two Stones, but every second of waiting has been worth it.
I understand the word ˘Southern÷ tagged on to any kind of rock music often scares people into thinking the music is going to sound like every other Southern band that has come before with lyrics that focus on little more than alcohol and women. ItĂs true that Dixie Witch has evolved from the heavy blues-rock of the late 60s and early 70s complete with roots influences and fuzzed-out jams. ThereĂs something different going on with this band though, which sets them apart completely. First, thereĂs the fact that Dixie Witch is a trio made up of Trinidad Leal (drums/vocals), Curt Christenson (bass/vocals), and Clayton Mills (guitar). Unlike a lot of their peers, they have no need for two or three guitars, and the sound they create is equally as immense as those bands. Also, while the Dixie Witch guys definitely write songs about the ˘traditional÷ Southern rock topics, their lyrics tend to be quite passionate and focus on a variety of themes including losing a friend and the trials and tribulations of being on the road.
The tracks on One Bird Two Stones move seamlessly between aggressive rock numbers and slower, melodic jams. While each member of the band is quite adept at his instrument, there is no overproduction or slick perfectionism - they leave their music raw and real, which is very much the way they come across in their live show. All of the 10 tracks on this album are exceptional, like the fuzzy behemoth "More of a Woman" and the sludgy 70s style "On My Way." I love the guitar intro and generally bluesy feel of "Traveler" as well as the consummate road song "The Wheel," which easily gives SegerĂs Turn the Page a run for its money with lyrics like ˘another night on the road kinda drunk and feeling hazy, canĂt sleep tonight, no I think IĂm going a little bit crazy.÷ Another aspect that sets Dixie WitchĂs music apart is TrinidadĂs vocals; he has a wonderfully expressive voice that is a relief amongst so many ˘singers÷ who do couldnĂt carry a tune if their lives depended on it. There isnĂt a bad song in the bunch, and there is something here that will appeal to any fan of rock music - even those who normally shy away from anything with a Southern tinge.
As good as this album is, One Bird Two Stones is really a precursor to seeing Dixie Witch live and as something to tide you over between shows. Everything captured here is expanded on tenfold live. I think rock fans who are more than tired of much of what the music industry has been feeding them lately will find kindred spirits in this trio. I know IĂm already waiting for the next Dixie Witch album or show to come my way.
A logical evolution from their ˘Into the Sun÷ ep, Dixie WitchĂ s Small Stone debut ˘One Bird, Two Stones÷ is a mammoth 10 tracks of Texas guitar prowess. When I say evolution, I mean that on this disc, the ŠWitch have solidified themselves as competent song smiths with the ability to combine some great melodic jams with classic Texas-style rock nĂ roll swagger.
˘Get Busy÷ and ˘GoinĂ South÷ are great examples of Dixie WitchĂs jam skills, as the band wastes no time in getting the first few chords out of their system in order to set the stage for CCĂs pedal heavy southern-tinged guitar, while Trinidad and Clay keep up their steady rhythm throughout. ˘On My Way÷ is awesome on a number of levels: it not only has a catchy as hell intro and rhythm, but it also has some great Wino-esque sounding vocals by Trinidad. ˘Turbo Wing÷ is a real shredder, played at breakneck speed and probably the heaviest track I have heard by this band.
Make no mistake however, ˘The Wheel÷ is a sad song that sounds intensely personal, but I think it serves its purpose on this disc. Same goes with the sad, SRV type guitar blues on ˘Here Today, Gone Tomorrow÷ that gives me shivers every time I hear it. Even ˘Drifting Lady÷ and ˘Traveler÷ are a little on the mellow side, although they have a profoundly summertime feel: hence the maturation of the band - showing that they can temper their southern fuelled guitar rock with sincere, emotive song writing.
On first listen, the production seemed a little on the muddy side ű maybe a little too heavy on the bass mix. DonĂt let it fool you though, after a few listens the guitar sound really creeps up to the front and the band sounds much fuller than I previously realized. All in all, IĂm impressed how far the song writing has improved from the first disc and even more surprised to learn that Trinidad handles both drum and lead vocal duties (and does an amazing job at it too!)
˘One Bird, Two Stones÷ proves to be Dixie WitchĂs most mature, focused and relaxed offering to date. Killer artwork too as with every Small Stone release. Get off yer ass and get this one pronto!
Nick MucJune 2003StonerRockChick.com