Dim Watts “Eye Two Three”

Cleft Music, 2023

An album that adds another fascinating layer to the musical palette of Athens GA.

Dim Watts Eye Two Three album artworkAthens, situated near the Blue Ridge Mountains area of North Georgia, has produced a huge number of talented musicians over the years. The city is well-known as the home of mainstream bands such as REM and the B52s and has also been an important region in the development of several varieties of folk music, including Appalachian bluegrass and Piedmont blues. Folk artists and singer-songwriters have always flourished in the Athens atmosphere, the most notable being the legendary Vic Chesnutt; and Jim Willingham, a long-known and well-loved gem of Athens’ ever fertile music scene, was in fact the recipient of the 2020 Vic Chesnutt Songwriting Award and shares real similarities to the namesake’s songwriting and singing style.

Willingham fronted Ham1 (which included members of Olivia Tremor Control and Patterson Hood’s solo band) which morphed into Old Smokey, and now his latest project is Dim Watts; Willingham on vocals and guitar, Jason Trahan on guitar and lap steel, Adam Hebert on bass, and John Ross Bleech on drums and percussion. ‘Eye Two Three‘ contains ten, mainly short but highly original, songs recorded at Jesse Mangum’s The Glow Recording Studio. The instrumentation and production give an almost retro folk-rock sound, and the writing showcases Willingham’s ability to find beauty or meaning in the mundane or meek, as well as some thoughtful social and political commentary, alongside memorable melodic hooks. Songs such as ‘Turns Out Wrong‘, ‘The Nail‘ and ‘Open And Carry‘ are catchy and upbeat, whilst the slower-paced and more atmospheric ‘Swells Of Sounds‘ and ‘Phantom Train‘ provide an opportunity for the band to show their experimental side. Throughout, Willingham’s distinctive vocals ensure that each song is interesting, and with each listen there is more to discover; Dim Watts ‘Eye Two Three‘ is an album that, without doubt, adds another fascinating layer to the musical palette of Athens GA.

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About GrahamBollands 28 Articles
Proud dad of Jess, Harry and Lucie. Was a headteacher for 17 years and now pleased to share my experiences working as a university tutor training the next generation of primary teachers. Now living the dream in North Devon, doing up a barn, growing vegetables, walking the coastpath, volunteering on a farm alongside young adults with learning difficulties, presenting a weekly radio show, singing in a choir, and whenever possible, listening to great music and going to gigs.
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