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All Music Guide:
Combining the heartfelt balladry of Hank Williams, the avant-garde vision of Igor Stravinsky and Captain Beefheart, and the hard-driving sounds of Patti Smith, Sandy Dillon created some of the most innovative music of the 1990s. In addition to featured recordings of her self-described "jazz-punk western blues," she has also worked with avant-garde ensembles such as Ensemble Modern and Man Parrish.
Raised in Massachusetts' Cape Cod, Dillon began playing piano at the age of six. After studying classical music at the Berklee College of Music, she relocated to New York with hopes of launching her career. Living in the infamous Chelsea Hotel, she earned a living by playing jazz piano in gay bars and supper clubs, and portraying Janis Joplin in a Broadway musical based on the life of the late musician.
Signed by Elektra in the early '90s, Dillon's music was met with resistance from the label. Her first two albums went unreleased despite the production work of Mick Ronson. The label finally agreed to release her third attempt, Dancing on the Freeway, as her debut album in 1995, but it was her last for Elektra.
Working with her husband and collaborator, Steve Bywaters, in their home studio, Dillon continued to record. Her second album, Skating, released on the independent Bonjour label in 1996, was followed by Electric Chair, which she called "an album of torch songs where the woman doesn't get burned," in July 1999 and East Overshoe in 2001. When Bywaters died of a sudden heart attack shortly after completing East Overshoe, Dillon was left on her own for the first time in more than a decade. In the summer of 2002, Dillon started work on a new album. One Little Indian released Nobody's Sweetheart in 2004. Pull the Strings followed in 2006, and Living in Dreams appeared in 2008.
Sandy Dillon is an American singer and songwriter.
Born near Cape Cod, Sandy Dillon studied Orchestral Composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston, before moving to New York where she lived at the Chelsea Hotel. She played Janis Joplin on Broadway in ‘Rock n Roll: The First 5,000 Years’ where she was spotted by Tony DeFries, who had managed both David Bowie and Iggy Pop. Defries steered her to Elektra, for whom she recorded two (unreleased) albums Candy From A Stranger (produced by Man Parrish) and Flowers (co-produced by Mick Ronson and Dieter Meier) (Previewed in Ronnie Scotts alongside Mick Ronson on guitar).
Dillon moved to London where she met her husband Steve Bywater, who was a member of the Churchfitters (also known as the Blue Lighthouse Brigade in alternate form) alongside Pete Brown (bass and sax) Geoff Coombs (Mandolin,whistles and Vocals) and Angus Wallace (Guitar and vocals). Steve Bywaters subsequently went on to produce several of Dillons albums. She signed to One Little Indian for whom she recorded Electric Chair. In 2000 she released Las Vegas Is Cursed, a collaboration with Hector Zazou and East Overshoe. in 2001 Steve Bywater died as a Thalidomide victim. Dillon went on and recorded Nobody’s Sweetheart, was the first of Dillon's albums to be released in the US in 2003. At that time Dillon had to go to hospital because of a combination of cancer, MRSA virus and autoimmune disease. After being released from hospital she recorded the album Pull the Strings, which was released in 2006. Her most recent record is Living in Dreams, recorded in Germany together with her new husband Ray Majors (Mott The Hoople, The Yardbirds) and produced by David Coulter. Dillon and Majors also contributed vocals and guitar to Sisters Euclids album 96 Tears, a collection of cover versions.