Raised in Jackson, Mississippi, he debuted with a Southern gothic Americana style with pronounced Big Star-like overtones, which landed on his debut, Quite Often. Produced Dennis Herring and Clay Jones, it was released in 2004 on Herring's Sweet Tea imprint. The album received positive critical attention, and songs from it appeared on the soundtracks to television shows The OC and The Mountain as well as earning Dabbs an opening slot with R.E.M. at the Ryman Auditorium. A sophomore release, What's Golden Above Ground, produced by Justin Loucks and Ian Fitchuk, followed in 2006 from Dabbs' own Ready Set Records label. In 2010, he issued a pair of albums — Your Side Now and Transition — produced by Thomas Doeve. The latter added an additional layer of synth production to his traditional singer/songwriter sound, heard on tracks such as "Counting Sleep" and "Off We Go" with Erin McCarley. At this time, his duties as songwriter for other artists began to pick up and he penned tracks for the likes of Katie Herzig, Joy Williams (Civil Wars), Mat Kearney, and more.
His sixth set, Southerner, landed in 2011. With more muscular rock songwriting and a rollicking spirit, the album featured the tracks "Don't Blame Love" and "Neil Young." His prolific streak continued with 2012's Future Like Snow and 2013's The Way We Look at Horses. During this period, Dabbs contributed to the Nashville television series, penning songs such as "Don't Put Dirt on My Grave Just Yet," "Shine," and "Undermine." He also joined Ingrid Michaelson on her sixth album, Lights Out. Tapping into his love of Americana and Bob Dylan, his ninth effort, Believer, arrived in 2015. He switched things up again the following year, adopting a lush, atmospheric angle on The Optimist. His 11th work in almost as many years, Positano, was issued in late 2018. ~ Neil Z. Yeung & Steve Leggett