DIXIE DREGS — What If (review)

DIXIE DREGS — What If album cover Album · 1978 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
Despite the uninspiring cover art and a band name that has always led me to believe that they were in a musical category akin to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet or even the Allman Brothers, I was absolutely shocked to find out that the DIXIE DREGS were nothing of the sort. Although progressive bluegrass is included in the mix, what we have here is a very eclectic mix of styles and moods comprising a most magnificent musical gem. Steve Morse has always been referred to as one of the greats in the guitar world, yet most of the things i've heard from him have left me lukewarm at best. I guess the secret to understanding all the praise is to go back far enough into his discography before the watered down versions of the greatness appeared.

WHAT IF is the absolute perfect place to start. This was love at first listen with only the first and third tracks taking me several listens to appreciate but now they have weaseled their way into my soul and are stuck there until the great decomposition of body and mind occurs. This album is absolutely phenomenal in how progressive it is. It is labeled as jazz fusion and to be fair there is plenty of that going on particularly in a Mahavishnu Orchestra type of way but there are classical guitar pieces, bluegrass, Kansas type rockers and moments of calmness. Every track is impressive and my favorite idiosyncrasy of this band is how they play out a passage by alternating instruments to finish riffs and fills. A kind of lightning fast call and response that serves as the backbone for the melodic whole. Impressive album indeed that I never get tired of. It just keeps getting better after repeated listens. A perfect marriage of melody and technicality.
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