Wilson Dixon Hour

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

Country music has rightly come in for its fair share of savage parody over the years, from the coarse, bourbon-soaked raspings of Rich Hall’s Otis Lee Crenshaw to the tasteless excesses of rhinestone cowgirl Tina C.

Now into this crowded market swaggers Wilson Dixon. And, thankfully, this town is plenty big enough for them all.

He’s found his own niche, more modest and low-key than the rest, spurning brash, arrogant flag-waving in favour of folksy homespun wisdom.

Dixon creator Jesse Griffin, one third of acclaimed Aussie comedy troupe The Four Noels, doesn’t use country music as a broad metaphor for all that is so obviously wrong with America. Instead he mocks the quiet rural life with genuine affection, painting a subtly surreal picture of the people who live in the isolated backwater of Cripple Creek, high in the Colorado Rockies.

The attention to detail is painstaking, from his own, slightly off-kilter appearance to the tiny flicks of odd background information, little pearls of wit imparted as throwaway afterthoughts. And many of the rural yarns his spins are little short of superb; the brilliantly oddball tale of the town’s giant fibreglass tourist attraction especially inspired.

Combined with this is Griffin’s love of the one-liner. Comedy songs, so often the last refuge of the desperate, are used here to cram countless quotable gags into three-minute soundbites. For an unhurried character, Dixon’s sure got plenty of material to squeeze in, most of it of the finest quality.

A few members of his audience showed up in full cowboy gear, perhaps inspired more by the $10-a-head saving offered than a ceaseless devotion to this new country icon. But if there’s any justice, Wilson Dixon will surely inspire a devout following before long. A cult is born.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Melbourne, April 2005

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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