Founded by jazz singer, Kerri Layton, the name 'Dixiebird' has a personal story. Having been a caged songbird all of her life, when she had her first opportunity to live alone, she spent her days warbling around the house, indulging in her favourite old jazz numbers, singing had always been a passion of hers, but had been crushed by demeaning elders, and thus, not let out until this very moment.
One day, the neighbour came knocking, 'Is that you singing?' he bellowed! Thinking he was going to ask her to keep it down, she rushed to apologise and said she wouldn't sing so much, he excitedly told her that every time she sang, him and his friends turned the T.V off and 'got the pint glasses from the cupboard' to press up against the wall to listen to her! Just Like old school detectives, a new relationship and friendship was born, seeking out as many songs from the 1900's as possible.
Finding encouragement in the most unlikely place, that Summer she warbled to her heart's content, the neighbours drinking lager and balancing on wheely bins to reach over the backyard wall, to ask her to 'sing the one about the basket again' (Tisket a Tasket - Ella Fitzgerald). Kerri secretly auditioned for the part in Banner Theatre's play 'The Future Makers as a lead guitarist and singer, practising at a local open mic where the 'old boys' who loved their music, encouraged her even moreShe got the part, and later that year, she was also asked to sing for a band, she recorded an album with them, she featured on 3 singles and she launched her alter ego cabaret starlet, Lady Layton. Overnight, a star was born. The songbird was officially uncaged, and as she flapped her wings on her first ever European tour, she returned home to the tragic news that her music-loving neighbour had tragically died of an overdose.
It would be years later, whilst thinking of the name of her record label, she thought back to that man and the boys at the open mic, and what their encouragement did for her, it unlocked the cage for her to become who she truly was.
Dixie - the name dixie-cup is the official term for a detectives listening device, in memory of Scott, our neighbour.
Bird - the northern name for a lass, the free-spirited beautiful singing creatures that soar to the sky.
Dixiebird Records. In loving memory of my neighbour, Scott and music lover, Ian Creswell. R.I.P.