Nancy K. Dillon is an award-winning American singer-songwriter with an extraordinary voice of warmth & expression, vulnerability and strength who mines her own unique vein of 'avant guarde' Americana weaving compelling tales of mythopoetic darkness and light. She has two solo albums to her credit with a third due out in 2016.
Dillon grew up in Central Oklahoma raised in a musical family by her composer/professor/jazz-player/church-choir-director father, Bob Dillon, and her mother, Betty Lou, a former vocal teacher who sang hymns around the house. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma, a move to Seattle led to travel, adventure and varied musical opportunity. Nancy performed in roots-based bands and was in demand as a backing vocalist and session singer until her decision to focus on songwriting in the New Millennium. In 2004, Dillon released her first studio solo album recorded with Grammy Award-winning engineer, Garey Shelton. A rootsy outing of mostly original songs, "Just Let Me Dream" gained airplay around the world and was highly praised by reviewers.
With the release of her 2nd album, "Roses Guide To Time Travel" (2010), Dillon began a musical exploration of her American roots. For "Roses Guide" she designed a haunting image of an old time locomotive for the cover and dedicated the album to her great-grandfather Kansas trainman and BLFE Union Officer, Asa Dillon. In addition to performing, she continued her travels throughout the New West writing and singing songs of railroads and Okies, Texas tornados and lonely roads of red dirt.
Dillon's new album, "A Game of Swans" was greatly inspired by her current passion for genealogy and hearkens back to her immigrant roots in the Old Country. Tapping into ancestral strains of Celtic folk culture that have always flowed just beneath the surface of her music, she assembled a simpatico backing band of uber-talented friends in America, Britain and Scotland. Contributing tracks via e-mail from the UK and Scotland were Gavin Sutherland (Sutherland Brothers & Quiver), Ian Lang (Small Change), Chris Parks (Any Trouble) and Ollie Collins (Badly Drawn Boy/Angie Palmer). American contributors Stacy Phillips (Dobro), Michael Connelly (fiddle/uilleann pipes/penny whistle), Wes Weddell (mandolin), Chris Leighton (percussion), Garey Shelton (bass guitar/engineer) and harmony vocalists, Joy Mills and Tom Parker color Dillon's latest project with the perfect tones.
Inspired by the disparate paths taken by her Scots-Irish Presbyterian forebears as they migrated towards a better life, the American West still looms large in her imagination. New songs for the album (originals, collaborations & carefully chosen covers by Drew Nelson, Janni Littlepage and Pat Long) draw characters from lost gold mines, haunted pioneer cabins, immigrants' prayers and Civil War last chances.
Dillon writes compelling and sometimes mysterious stories into her songs, and this talent elevates her writing far beyond the usual fare of singer-songwriters. She initially found inspiration traveling across the vast landscapes of the western US. Now that she's looking to her family's history in Ireland, Scotland, Europe and Britain, she's finding new inspiration and crafting new stories. She's traveling a path that we all should travel, and finding out amazing things, like the fact that her father fought in the brutal Battle of the Bulge in World War II and her 7th great-grand-uncle in Scotland wrote a treatise called Lex Rex upon which the 2nd amendment was based. Through her music and through following her muse, she's uncovering the intense, heart-breaking stories that people don't always want to tell, the stories that are only whispered about in families. Her new album echoes with the sadness of history, the promise of new hopes and dreams and draws out the ghosts of many old stories through her careful, clever, and beautiful songwriting.
Echoing the New World/Old World journey, A Game of Swans was recorded half in the Northwestern US and half in the UK through the magic of the internet and several musical collaborations begun on Nancy's previous album. A Game of Swans fulfills that promise and is a masterful showcase for Nancy K Dillon as a bandleader. She pulls together a cast of exquisite and extraordinary players on acoustic and electric instruments - some of the best roots musicians in each region - and guides them into creating vastly different sounds to fit each song.