NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans welcome Fantasy/Concord Music Group artist Gabe Dixon to perform pregame on the Titans party stage — and Sony/RED-distributed Big Picnic Records duo JOHNNYSWIM to sing the National Anthem — this Sunday when the Titans host the New York Jets at LP Field.
Gabe Dixon's self-titled band album was named as one of the "Best Of The Year" by Paste, the year-end Village Voice critics poll & others. His songs have been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, CW and more. His song "Find My Way," was the main title theme for the #1 Sandra Bullock Film, "The Proposal."
Dixon's latest solo album "One Spark" features collaborators ranging from members of UK rock stalwarts Snow Patrol & Starsailor to bluegrass-country icon Alison Krauss. Dixon is also recognized as the "go to" pianist of choice, having handled keyboard duties for artists as varied as Paul McCartney, O.A.R. and Supertramp. And Gabe's song, "Music Calls Us Home," written for his hometown of Nashville, TN is widely featured in promotions for the city.
Industry tip sheet The Lefsetz Letter said of Gabe Dixon: "this man is excellent. Stunningly so. Because of his talent."
There are approximately 2,000 miles between Nashville and Los Angeles. Both cities are home to JOHNNYSWIM. However, the duo's music far transcends that distance. It's easy to understand why A Prairie Home Companion declared that Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano Ramirez are "21st century troubadours."
As JOHNNYSWIM, they embody the tradition of the well-traveled singer-songwriter while cultivating a modern style that's uniquely their own. Fueled by Nashville's fervent music scene, the two began writing songs that drew from and augmented each other's musical strengths.
"Nashville was our incubator," says Amanda. "It was a creative cocoon that allowed us to get out whatever was in us without the need to be 'successful.' It developed us in the best way. In Nashville, I met so many amazing musicians who could care less if anyone ever knew their name. They loved music and that was that. It was so refreshing."
Adopting the name JOHNNYSWIM, the duo self-released their debut EP 1-4 in 2008. A year later, Abner and Amanda got married and relocated to Los Angeles. Above all, the love of writing, recording, and performing informs each new JOHNNYSWIM project. Largely recorded and produced at their home, Heart Beats exhibits the duo's ever-expanding stylistic range. Issued as a single and video, the self-penned title track is accompanied by Abner and Amanda's collaborations with fellow Nashville/LA transplants Josiah Bell and Britten Newbill.
Co-written and co-produced with Bell, "Don't Let It Get You Down" exemplifies JOHNNYSWIM's ability to render anthem-like melodies that immediately hook and bring audiences to their feet.
"Nashvillians love good songs," says Amanda, and Heart Beats is certainly full of them. Slating their first full-length album for 2014, the duo has many more stories to share. No matter what JOHNNYSWIM writes or where they perform, the excellence of their craft infuses every note.
12TH TITAN - BLAKE LEEPER
This week’s 12th Titan is U.S. Paralympic medalist and Johnson City, Tenn., native Blake Leeper. Leeper is a bilateral below-the-knee amputee and has been using prosthetics since the age of nine.
In the 2012 Paralympic Games, he won an individual silver medal in the 400 meter T44 event and a bronze medal in the 200m T44 event. He’s competed at several other events, including Endeavor Games and the U.S. Paralympics Track & Field National Championships. Leeper chose track & field as his sport of choice because he loves to run and enjoys competing in a sport that is extremely intense and competitive.
Leeper also grew up with Titans cornerback