Tom Dixon was planning to get up early in the morning Aug. 14 and begin the drive from Nashville to New England. 

That might seem like a trip (19 to 20 hours plus an overnight) to unfamiliar territory for a country singer and song-writer, but for Dixon, the destination will be much more like home turf. 

"My biggest fan base is in New England," said Dixon during a telephone interview from Nashville a couple of days before heading north. "That's where I'm from. Everyone's supportive." 

Dixon, who is originally from Tewksbury and grew up in Pelham, New Hampshire, will not be the only performer with New England roots at the new Country MusicFest at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area in Princeton from noon to 6 p.m. Aug. 16. Other performers (on two stages) are Auburn's Glenn Stewart (who is signed with New Nashville North Entertainment record label and has played at Indian Ranch); the Tim Charron Band (Charron is originally from Warwick, R.I.); The Herland Brothers (Boston suburbs); and Houston Bernard Band. The Tom Dixon Band will bring the proceedings to a close when it performs from 4:45 to 6 p.m. 

Dixon was driving up solo; the band will be composed of musicians he knows in the New England area. 

It's just been a year and a half since Dixon and his wife, Jenny Dixon, moved to Nashville. 

"We were talking about it a long time," he said. Once down there he worked with Grammy-nominated producer Kent Wells to create his first solo album, "Kick Start This Party." 

With a deep but smooth singing voice that sounds all-country, Dixon performs a country-rock, contemporary-country that's accessible and catchy. "I'm an entertainer first," he said. "I try to pick songs I can put on a show with." 

Dixon's interest in country started when he was as a child listening to his father's county music tapes of performers such as Johnny Cash and Kenny Rogers. 

"He was into the old traditional stuff. I started getting into the modern stuff on my own," Dixon said. A defining moment was watching "Garth Brooks LIVE from Central Park." Brooks, of course, is a great entertainer. 

But Dixon didn't start playing and performing seriously until he was in college. "Once I started, I didn't look back." 

For several years he put on shows in New England with a band he put together while holding down a day job in New Hampshire. Performing around here "could have been a full- time job; I was burning the candle at both ends." And getting recognition. The Tom Dixon Band was named "Country Act of the Year" at the 2013 New England Music Awards just before Dixon moved to Nashville. Other awards include 2011 Entertainer of the Year from both the New England Country Music Association and Northeast Country Showdown. 

Nashville, however, is the place where most great country albums get made and many prominent country musicians and producers live. 

When Jenny Dixon had an opportunity for a job transfer to the Nashville area with the company she works for, the decision was made. "My wife and I packed up and headed south," Dixon said. 

The only gig Dixon had at first was a monthly one at a place run by a friend. Nothing else was guaranteed. "It was kind of slow going," he acknowledged. He did other things to help bring in money. "I'm resourceful when it comes to making money, let's put it that way," he said. 

But 2014 has unfolded to a different tune. "Kick Start This Party" has received airplay on country radio stations near and far, and Dixon has been getting a lot more bookings for shows, he said. 

"I travel a lot. I play everywhere," Dixon said. "Music is what I'm doing." 

Dixon plans to get back in the recording studio in the fall for a new album that will come out early next year. 

During his current New England return journey, Dixon will be coming to the Perfect Game, 64 Water St., Worcester, at 7 p.m. Aug. 20, for an appearance with Erin Ollis. He'll be opening for Lady Antebellum Aug. 31 at the Meadowbrook Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gifford, New Hampshire, along with gigs in Boston, at the Hard Rock Cafe, as well as Foxboro, Lowell, and Lyndonville, Vermont. 

It can be good to go back. "No one's let go of me," Dixon said of his fans here. "I wasn't sure when I left, but they continued to support me." For more information about Tom Dixon, visit 

Saturday's event includes a craft vendor market, "SkyRide," and food and beer can be purchased. People are welcome to bring lawn chairs. 

Contact Richard Duckett at