My Editors Got Angry Phone Calls for This One…

15 Jul

At 20, I had no inclination to stir up trouble. I have never been a confident enough journalist and I don’t like people being mad at me. But, when this feature about Christian modern rock band Hoi Polloi resulted in my editors getting angry calls from the band’s former record label, I had to laugh.

Yes, I knew the VIA Records staff like family and, yes, I had been an intern at Reunion Records. Honestly though, my love for VIA didn’t write this story and my distaste for Reunion didn’t make Jenny criticize them. I always let the artists tell their stories. At the time, though, CCM wasn’t known for saying critical things about anyone really… or for publishing critical things anyone was quoted as saying.

This spread is still my favorite of all my publications, too.

Potpourri is Right! I Published an Art Review?

15 Oct

"beaucoup de potpourri" arts article from NUVO NewsweeklyBefore I was a regular contributing writer to NUVO, I took part in an assigned blitzkrieg on the newsweekly. After my sophomore year at Belmont, I took a summertime writing class at IUPUI in Indianapolis called “Reporting the Arts.”  We were just seven eager writing students who wowed our professor so well, he ordered us to just take our art reviews to the NUVO offices and submit them.

Now, you know, publications don’t necessarily bite when free writing comes along. (In fact, you can taste the sarcasm in the art editor’s first sentence of this round up!) Regardless of my growing writing portfolio, I didn’t feel like I was in any position to be writing about fine art. I was a nervous wreck driving over to the NUVO office to drop off my classwork. And I really had figured I’d be turned away at the reception desk. But, low and behold, two of us made it through the presses.

This One Time, I Sold Out a Magazine

11 Oct

All right. I suppose it wasn’t really my doing, but it felt great nonetheless. In the big world of publications it didn’t mean much, because 7ball Magazine peaked at a circulation of about 20,000. Still, this November/December 1996 edition, which featured my interview with Bill Mallonee of Vigilantes of Love, is the only one to have ever sold out. (I even got some fan mail from it. No kidding!)

Check out the first page of copy. This is back when it was awesome for designers to align text so that it was nearly impossible to read. It’s my own story and I remember it took me a few minutes to figure out that the layout wasn’t a total screw up.

Vigilantes of Love Cover 7ball Magazine Sold Out

7ball Magazine Vigilantes of Love by Amy E. Dixon
Amy E. Dixon interviews Bill Mallonee for 7ball Magazine

1996 7Ball Magazine Cover Story by Amy E. Dixon





Stars in My Eyes for Copywriting

7 Oct

I was in full retirement of my writing career when Metromix came to town. Still, through my friend and former editor at the late Time-Warner magazine called Crossroads, I got word about some money to be made writing the little descriptive paragraphs (called “capsules”) about all the retail and restaurant locations to be listed on the official Nashville Metromix website. My heart pitter-pattered at the possibility of writing hundreds of capsules!

Alas, my full-time job, the rushed deadline and, well, my own fear turned that pipe dream into the reality of only a couple dozen capsules. My assignments were all for places in Brentwood and the experience was a great exercise in writing concisely. Plus, it got me out of my comfort zone… and made me feel kinda cool (until it turned out nobody ever really cared about Metromix).

Today, the Nashville site is mostly an internet graveyard. though I think Gannett might have the whole thing on life support. Anyhow, here are some of clips:

City Cafe

This cafeteria-style meat and three has been a long-standing favorite in the Nashville area. Though this location is tucked in a storefront amidst quite a few fast food spots, City Cafe is always packed at mealtime with hearty appetites. The menu changes daily but features familiar Southern home cooked “meats” like catfish, fried chicken, meatloaf and, of course, plenty of vegetables from which to choose your “three.” Mom will be proud as you eat your greens, fried okra, and the best veg of all, macaroni and cheese.


Myron and Nicole Phillips are crazy about their first foray into restaurant development. It was 2004 when they finally put aside their franchised stores and launched something all their own right in Cool Springs. Battered chicken, broiled chicken, chicken egg rolls, mesquite smoked chicken wings, Cajun chicken, salads topped with chicken; it’s all here in the hip and casual storefront filled with colorful art and cool blue walls. The perfect poultry is complemented by freshly and perfectly made fries, slaw and dipping sauces.

Mazatlan Mexican Restaurant 

With about half a dozen locations in Nashville and surrounding areas, Mazatlan has become a familiar and trustworthy name for Mexican-American eats. Local cubicle jockeys dine here on a regular basis because of the reasonable prices and quick lunch service (and to take a load off after work with the Monster Margaritas and Monster Daquiris). Another bonus: draft beers are $1.50. The dining room is spacious with plenty of room for groups. Visit their Web site for a buy one/get one half price lunch or dinner coupon.

Mere Bulles

Maryland Farms grows mostly businesses nowadays, but the property’s original plantation house still stands to oversee it all. The restored home now houses Mere Bulles Restaurant, elegant dining for special occasions, Sunday brunch or a business lunch. The menu offers favorites like She Crab Bisque or Rib Rolls served with homemade chips for lunch, prime steaks and fresh seafood for dinner. Plenty of sweet and savory choices make up Sunday brunch. Enjoy dipping fruit and pastries into the chocolate fountain before heading home for an afternoon nap.

Phillip’s Delicatessen

For nearly 15 years, Phillip’s Delicatessen has been a favorite Nashville sandwich shop. New Jersey’s famous Thumann’s meats and cheeses stuff the deli’s freshly baked breads and bagels with preservative-free fillings. The simple and hearty breakfast menu is chocked full of reasonably priced bagel sandwiches, burritos and fruit. For lunch, choose from soups of the day, salads, baked potatoes, basic sandwiches and special deli favorites including pastrami and Reuben sandwiches, liverwurst on a French roll and the muffuletta supreme. Call in advance for delivery and catering.


Whether you’re a climber or a cycler, a water bug or a snow bird, world traveler or general outdoor enthusiast, REI’s one Tennessee location has all the gear you need. Folks of all sorts find trendy tech wear, high-end sports gear and all the tools of the trade with help from the happy REI staff. (REI has 11 times been voted one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to work for.) Get special discounts and annual dividends by becoming a Recreational Equipment Incorporated member for 20 bucks per year.

Stogie’s Ales and Fine Cigars 

Stogie’s warm look and leather sofas are inviting for a game day hangout, an after-dinner nightcap or just unwinding after work. Literally hundreds of beers from all over the world stock the coolers and Stogie’s proudly tags the latest additions so they’re easy to spot. Five drafts are available at all times and the selection rotates weekly. Visit to see what’s stocked in the walk-in humidor. Non-alcoholic drinks, cigar accessories, pipes, tobacco and cigarettes are also available.


“My philosophy was simple; serve down-home cookin’ … fast and friendly,” says John Craighead. So in 2000 he created Vittles, an order-from-the-menu kind of meat and three. Breakfast is mostly hearty basics but also includes a variety of $1.99 “Grab-It and Go” biscuit, croissant or Texas toast sandwiches. For lunch there are plenty of big salads to choose from as well as hot and cold sandwiches. And dinner offers up many filling and comforting Southern favorites like country fried steak, pot roast and fried shrimp platters.

The Brits Gave Me My First Shot at Snark

3 Oct

When New Musical Express put out an open call for writers anywhere and everywhere, I figured I had a snowball’s chance in hell. I can’t even remember how I stumbled upon the lead, but it seemed like it was worth a shot. I vaguely remember they required applicants to answer three questions via email and that was it.

Well, they signed me up! I remember being passed over for comp tickets to Ozzie Osbourne. But, I got Matchbox 20! I knew I had to bring a lack of “bias” and some real cojones for this gig. I was really afraid to be too mean with my review, but now I look back at it and it cracks me up.

Unfortunately, I was a victim of an NME house-cleaning shortly after this ran. Suddenly, all the editors were different and I never got through to anyone there again. Actually, I think there was a mix up with my check, too. But, really, that 80 bucks was certainly no big deal in the end.

NME Reviews

April 17, 2001

Matchbox 20 / Everclear / Lifehouse: Nashville Gaylord Entertainment Centre

US-conquering country rock types Matchbox 20 prove, inevitably, solid...

The local theory is that country is dead. But Rob Thomas’ affected vocal has always sounded like he grew up in the sticks singing Appalachian folk songs and guarding his still with a shotgun. His somewhat literal loving-and-losing lyrics and astoundingly mid-tempo music make one think that country is slowly pushing it’s way in the back door.

Nashville loves Rob. He is family by the way. Matchbox 20 recorded ‘Mad Season’ here last year. (Although David Thoener sold his East Iris Studios and moved to New England thereafter). Live, the band sounds good with a bright and airy mix. There’s actually some nice instrumentation now that the muddy compression from the record is gone. Lead guitarist Kyle Cook is a stellar musician. ‘The Last Beautiful Girl’ is really a pretty good song. But the show’s lighting design is obtrusive (if not blinding), and bassist Brian Yale really needs to have a guitar cable to keep him somewhere in the vicinity of stage left. The shorter the better please.

Opening act Everclear plays ‘Santa Monica.’. Oops, no, that’s ‘Wonderful’. And then ‘I Will Buy You A New Life’. Or maybe that’s ‘Everything To Everyone?’ Ah, it’s ‘Father Of Mine’… Well, whatever they’re playing, the double drummers are a distracting. Or, in the bizarro world, it’s all very interesting.

Anyway, here’s hoping that the formidable musicianship of Southern California’s young and so-far unaffected Lifehouse shall grow beyond this moment of overnight success to become a staple of pop and rock music-lovers across the board. Their set is short. If you go, leave early. But don’t be late.

Amy E. Dixon


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