KLFM plays Johnny Dowd

 

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Johnny Dowd je čovjek koji spada među one rijetke kantautore što unatoč eklektičnom i neuobičajenom stilu ipak zadržavaju svoj nativni identitet, a rezultat sukoba tradicionalnog i modernističkog jest jedan od najoriginalnijih izričaja u suvremenoj glazbi.

Johnny Dowd je rođen 29. ožujka 1948. u Forth Worthu, Texas. Tako započinje praktički svaki tekst kojemu je cilj ukratko ili poduže proanalizirati život i stvaralaštvo dotične persone. No, navikli ste na pomaknutu strukturu ovih ‘najava’, i znate da autoru napisa nipošto nije cilj prepisivati sa wikipedije, niti iznositi općepoznate kronološke činjenice ionako dostupne u relevantnoj literaturi, tek uz napomenu kako su česte poredbe s Waitsom i Caveom apsurdne koliko i Dowdovi stihovi. Pokušajmo onda krenuti od geografske odrednice.

Već i ptice na grani znaju da je savezna država Texas zadnjih desetljeća iznjedrila ponajbolje američke kantautore; od Townesa Van Zandta, Willie Nelsona i Krisa Kristoffersona, preko Guy Clarka, Steve Earlea, Lyle Lovetta, Rodney Crowella, Jimmy Dale Gilmorea, Roberta Earla Keena, Billy Joe Shavera, pa do Scotta H. Birama i Justina Townesa Earlea – da spomenemo tek neke elemente te bogate lepeze.

No, ime Johnnyja Dowda se vrlo rijetko spominje u tom zemljopisnom kontekstu. Razlog tomu dijelom (no, uskoro ćete shvatiti – tek dijelom!) jest činjenica da je dotični još u djetinjstvu započeo onaj sveamerički proces mijenjanja lokacija i saveznih država – između ostalog, do pete je godine života već živio u Tennesseeju i Oklahomi. Neko je vrijeme boravio i u Kaliforniji, a u Memphis se vraća 1965., nakon razvoda roditelja, a te da bi se na koncu skrasio u gradiću Ithaca, New York.

Srećom, stara poslovica kaže da možeš potjerati stvorenje iz Texasa, ali nikad iz njega u potpunosti izbiti, istjerati taj čudnovati duh kojeg teksašani upiju rođenjem. Rekli bi pravnici, Iur Sole – pravo rodnog Sunca! Ipak, Johnny Dowd se po nečemu bitno razlikuje od imena navedenih na početku teksta.

Svi su oni, naime, stvorili prepoznatljiv stil temeljen na folku, countryju, bluesu ili pak kombinacijama navedenih utjecaja u varijabilnim omjerima. To se u određenom može reći i za Johnnyja Dowda, konkretno za njegovu ranu fazu, kada je djelovao unutar sastava Jokers s početka osamdesetih, te Neon Baptist ranih devedesetih. No, Wrong Side of Memphis (1997.), prvi uistinu samostalni album, odnosno rad koji je sada potpisan isključivo imenom Johnny Dowd donosi poprlilično drugačiju zvučnu sliku. Kompozicije izlaze iz očekivanih okvira često balansirajući na rubu prihvatljivosti, barem kada je o tradicionalnim okvirima riječ. Dowdova je nastupna ploča prožeta mračnom tematikom tipičnog southern gothica, i potpisnika ovih redaka podsjeća na Williama Faulknera u luđačkoj košulji. Može i ovako – zamislite da se radnja romana To Kill a Mockingbird spisateljice Harper Lee odvija u paralelnom svemiru gdje američki Jug utjelovljuje nekoliko zadnjih krugova pakla, i gdje Scout u naletu ludila spaljuje Boo Radleyja u krušnoj peći… jeste li vizualizurali? Onda vjerojatno polako naslućujete ambijent ‘pogrešne strane Memphisa’. Nižu se balade o ubojstvima, griješnicima i prokletstvu: Welcome Jesus, John Deere Yeller, Idle Conversation, Ft. Worth; Texas, Ballad of Frank and Jessee James, Papa Oh Papa…, skladbe tek prividno odjevene u klasično folk/country ruho, jer sama struktura pjesama u simbiozi sa neortodoksnim izborom instrumenata – sintetizator, između ostalih – kreira sasvim neočekivan i isčašen doživljaj. Možda je opus kantautora Jima Whitea, koji djelovanje započinje otprilike u isto vrijeme (i s kojim će Dowd 2006. ostvariti suradnju na projektu Hellwood) najbliža poredba?

Ovo definitivno stoji, jer štoviše, Dowd će odigrati bitnu rolu u dokumentarcu Searching for a Wrong-Eyed Jesus, nadrealnoj priči o američkom Jugu koja je 2003. nastala kao plod suradnje scenarista Steve Haismana i redatelja Andrewa Douglasa, a po motivima Whiteova albuma Mysterious Tale of how I shouted Wrong-Eyed Jesus. Scena u brijačnici je doslovice antologijska, kao i Dowdova izvedba pjesme Murder, sirovog dvoakordnog bluesa kojeg Johnny izvodi pod sivim nebom na groblju automobila.

Ukoliko je Wrong Side of Memphis najavio Dowdovu samostalnu karijeru, predstavivši već poznatog autora u novom, prigušenijem svjetlu, album Pictures from the Life’s other Side ide korak dalje. Ovdje Johnny već okuplja prateći sastav, koji ga uz određene iznimke prati i dan danas (primjerice na trenutačnoj europskoj turneji koja, očekivano, zaobilazi morlačke krajeve), što mu omogućuje daljnja eksperimentiranja u zvuku. Iskreno, jeste li sposobni predočiti teksaškog kantautora čije se kompozicije mogu obilježiti jazz festivale, ili se pak provući kroz tipičnu funky, pa i hip-hop DJ listu, svejedno ostajući u nativnoj folk domeni?

Albumi koji se nižu čitav novi milenij (spomenimo tek Temporary Shelter, Pawnbroker’s Wife i Cemetry Shoes), zaključno sa dva zasad posljednja koji se taman promoviraju u našem sjevernom susjedstvu (No Regrets i Do the Gargon) možda i ne donose nekakav primjetan napredak u odnosu na očekivani Dowdov zvuk, no to i nije nešto čemu bi trebalo prigovoriti, pošto je njegov opus u cijelosti već pomaknut iz songwriterskog  mainstreama. Istina, na pojedinim se ostvarenjima Johnny u određenoj mjeri vraća klasičnom izričaju (klasičnom u smislu kompatibilnosti s ljudima čija imena, ponavljam, bodu oči na početku ovog napisa), no to su rijetki trenuci opuštanja, pošto će se on već narednim albumom vratiti u vlastite vode spajanja naizgled nespojivog.

O Dowdu ne treba pisati litanije, pošto je njegov štih potrebno (i jedino moguće) doživjeti slušnim čulom. Stoga se, štovani slušatelji, udostojite preslušati mali, dvosatni izbor iz opusa ovog vrhunskog i neobičnog kantautora, jer ćete samo tako biti u stanju donijeti osobni objektivni sud. A Dowdov je opus itekako vrijedan temeljitog preslušavanja, posebno ukoliko spadate u skupinu puritanaca koji s prezirom i gnušanjem gledaju na suživot tradicionalnog i eksperimentalnog. Jer, u tom bi slučaju Johnnyjeve skladbe mogle na Vas djelovati iscjeliteljski i prosvjetiteljski!

24/02/2017  autor: Vjeran Stojanac

 – Original Article

Johnny Dowd is a man who is one of those rare songwriter that despite the eclectic and unusual style still retain their native identity, a result of the conflict of traditional and modernist is one of the most original expressions in contemporary music.

Johnny Dowd was born on 29 March 1948 in Forth Worth, Texas. So begins practically every text aimed at short or lengthy analyze the life and creativity of the respective persona. Well, you’re used to the shifted structure of these ‘announcements’, and you know that the author of the inscription is by no means objective rewritten from wikipedia, or removed from the generally known chronological facts already available in the relevant literature, only noting that the frequent comparisons with Waits and Cave absurd as the Dowd verses. Then try to start from the geographical determinants.

Even the birds in the trees know that the state of Texas last decade has seen the best of American singer-songwriter; of Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, over Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Lyle Lovett, Rodney Crowell, Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Robert Earl Keen, Billy Joe Shaver, to Scott H. Biram and Justin Townes Earle – to name only some elements of this rich array.

However, the name of Johnny Dowd is rarely mentioned in the geographic context. The reason for this part (well, you’ll soon realize – just part!) Is that it is concerned in childhood began the all-American process of changing locations and states – among other things, to the fifth year of life already lived in Tennessee and Oklahoma. For a while he lived in California, and Memphis returns in 1965, after his parents’ divorce, and this in order to end up settling in the town of Ithaca.

Fortunately, the old adage says that you can chase the creature from Texas, but never out of it completely knocked out, flush out the strange spirit that Texans are absorbed by birth. They said to the lawyers, Yur Sole – right gender of the Sun! However, Johnny Dowd at something essentially different from the names listed at the beginning of the text.

All of them, in fact, created a distinctive style based on folk music, of country, blues, or combinations of these influences in variable proportions. This is in particular can be said for Johnny Dowd, specifically for its early stage, when it acted within the band Jokers from the beginning of the eighties and early nineties Neon Baptist. But the Wrong Side of Memphis (1997), the first truly solo album, or work that is now signed exclusively named Johnny Dowd brings poprlilično different sound image. The compositions out of the expected framework often balancing on the edge of acceptability, at least in the traditional framework of the word. Dowd’s next board imbued with dark themes typical southern gothic, and the author of these lines reminiscent of William Faulkner in a straitjacket. Can this – imagine that the action of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird writer Harper Lee takes place in a parallel universe where the American South embodies the past few circles of hell, and where Scout coming madness burned Boo Radleyja in a baker’s oven … are you vizualizurali? Then slowly I suspect probably ambience ‘wrong side of Memphis. Lined with ballads of murder, sinners and a curse: Welcome Jesus, John Deere Yeller, Idle Conversation, Ft. Worth; Texas, Ballad of Frank and James Jessee, Papa Oh Papa …, tracks only seemed dressed in classic folk / country attire, because the very structure of the songs in symbiosis with unorthodox choice of instruments – synthesizer, among others – creates a completely unexpected and disjointed experience. Perhaps opus songwriter Jim White, who action begins around the same time (which is to Dowd 2006. collaborate on the project Hellwood) closest comparison?

This definitely stands, because in fact, Dowd will play an important role in the documentary Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus, surreal tale of the American South, which in 2003 occurred as a result of the collaboration screenwriter Steve Haisman and director Andrew Douglas, but the motifs White’s album Mysterious Tale of how I shouted Wrong-Eyed Jesus. The scene in the barbershop is literally anthology, and Dowd rendition of Murder, raw dvoakordnog blues by Johnny performed under a gray sky in the cemetery car.

If the Wrong Side of Memphis announced Dowdovu solo career, presenting already known authors in the new, muted light, the album Pictures from Life’s Other Side goes a step further. Here Johnny already gathers backing band, who with certain exceptions monitors today (such as the current European tour, which, as expected, bypasses Morlacki regions), allowing it to further experimentation in sound. Honestly, are you able to visualize the Texas singer-songwriter whose compositions can celebrate jazz festivals, or they slip through the typical funky, and hip-hop DJ list, still remaining in the native folk domain?

Albums that can lower the entire new millennium (just to mention the Temporary Shelter, Pawnbroker’s Wife and Cemetry Shoes) ended with two for now last who just promote our northern neighborhood (No Regrets and Do the Gargon) may not bring a noticeable improvement over the expected Dowdov sound, but it’s not something we should complain, since his work as a whole has already shifted from songwriterskog mainstream. True, the individual achievements of the Johnny to some extent restores classic expression (a classic in terms of compatibility with people whose names, I repeat, stinging eyes at the beginning of this article), but these are rare moments of relaxation, as it will be on the next album already back in their own water connecting seemingly incompatible.

O Dowd does not need to write a litany, after his flair required (and only available) experience auditory sense. Therefore, honored listeners, deign to listen to a small, two-hour selection from the oeuvre of this excellent and unusual singer-songwriter, because only thus be able to make a personal objective court. A Dowdov work was well worth a thorough listening, especially if you belong to a group of Puritans who with contempt and disgust view the coexistence of traditional and experimental. Because, in this case Johnny’s songs could you act on healing and enlightenment!

 – Translation by Google

Anna and Amanda – Kickstarters and Covers

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From Anna Coogans Kickstarter :

My name is Anna Coogan. I am a singer, guitarist, composer, teacher, producer, and teen mentor. I am releasing my first album in four years, The Lonely Cry of Space and Time, on April 28, 2017.

In the last four years, I have taught approximately 2,200 voice lessons, toured Europe three times, scored two silent films, produced three albums, spent hundreds of hours writing and playing with my bandmate Willie, and rediscovered my years of classical voice training. I’ve been a sideman for the first time ever, for Johnny Dowd and Mary Lorson. I’ve built some bridges. I’ve burned a few. This record encompasses all of these things.

 

 

Amanda Richards covers First There Was a Funeral by Johnny Dowd:

 

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Just can’t resist-here’s a Johnny version:

 

 

The Independent reviews Execute American Folklore

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webclip_the-independentAlbum reviews: Wilco – Wilco Schmilco, Jack White – Acoustic Recordings, MIA – AIM, and more

  • By Andy Gill
                                                                            September 8th, 2016

Johnny Dowd – Execute American Folklore – 4/5

Download this: Whiskey Ate My Brain; Sexual Revolution; Last Laugh; Funkalicious

Imagine if Hank Williams had mutated into Captain Beefheart, acquiring a bunch of primitive electronic equipment along the way, and you’ll get some idea of where Johnny Dowd is at on Execute American Folklore. The songs, narrated in Dowd’s ornery, fatalist drawl, feature his usual cast of hapless characters adrift in a world of mordant ill-fortune, but this time they are driven by mutant funk grooves crafted with buzzing, quacking synthesisers. “Unease And Deviance” sets the tone, harsh drum-machine driving its account of “twisted terror, vicious pleasure”; before the protagonists of “Sexual Revolution” and “Rhumba In The Park” suffer their below-the-belt blows. But balancing this is the maniacal glee with which Dowd recounts the detriments of booze and drugs in “Whiskey Ate My Brain”, climaxing in the album’s most wonderfully tortured burst of guitar noise. Gloriously deviant.

 – Original Article

Ithaca Journal presents The Jimmies

webclip_ij-headerReturn of the Jimmies: Top 16 local CDs of 2016

– JIM CATALANO, SOUNDOFF
January 3rd, 2017

Before we say goodbye to 2016, it’s time for me to announce the winners of my annual Soundoff awards, nicknamed “The Jimmies.”

I’ve been covering the Ithaca music scene since 1992, and I started doing these awards in 1994 to recognize the many talented people who make music in the area.

There were more than 40 CDs and EPs released locally in the past year, and while I didn’t get to every one of them, I did manage to listen to just about all of the ones that came out by mid-December.

As has been the case since 1994 (except for 2009, when the Jimmies were on hiatus), these award choices are entirely subjective. The winners receive absolutely nothing except a handshake and a “way to go” next time I see them around town.

The envelopes, please …

Johnny Dowd’s “Execute American Folklore” blended electronic
(Photo: File)

3) Johnny Dowd, “Execute American Folklore”: A strong follow-up to last year’s “That’s Your Wife on the Back of My Horse,” this album showcased Dowd’s continuing ability to blend electronic and organic musical elements to create appropriate backdrops for his distinctive vocals.

 – Original Article

Live on WBVR.fm 93.5 Nonesuch

On the occasion of Johnny’s  upcoming WVBR Nonesuch appearance, here’s a Barry Marshall-Everitt House of Mercy interview with him from 2015:

You’re welcome, and you can show your gratitude by helping Barry fund his battle with cancer via his GoFundMe site.

 

Cosmic Joke on Local Musicians

Not Johnny Dowd exactly. In fact, not even remotely, but a good prelude to some fan fun we plan to post later…Poster_20170119,cosmic-joke

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Along with a host of stellar Ithaca musicians covering other stellar Ithaca musicians, former Neon Baptist members Jennifer (nee Dowd) & Mike Edmondson will be covering at least a few songs from the Neon Baptist CD at the next Cosmic Joke Collective show. Mike, of course, is a current JD band member, and Jennifer traveled with the That’s Your Wife tour in 2015.

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In an ultimate celebration of our richly talented community, the performers of the Cosmic Joke Collective will be covering the music of local artists past and present on both January 21st and February 18th with two unique shows.

JANUARY 21st FEATURES THE TALENTS OF:

Jennie Lowe and Leon Arguello
Josh Dolan and Leon Arguello
Mandy Goldman and Samuel B. Lupowitz
Jif Edmondson and Michael Edmondson
Nate Silas Richardson

COVERING THE MUSIC OF:

Angie Beeler • The Blind Spots • Madder Rose • Anna Coogan • John Dowd • Crow Greenspun • Kitestring • Jennie Lowe Stearns • Will Musham • Alan Rose • and more!

6:30 Doors and Upstairs Bar Open
7:00 Showtime
$5 Cover

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– JIM CATALANO, SOUNDOFF

The Cosmic Joke Collective, the monthly artist salon hosted by Mickie Quinn, will present “We’ve Got You Covered, Part 1” Saturday at Lot 10. Each show has a theme, and this one will feature several local artists paying tribute to some of their musical peers.

On the bill are Leon Arguello, Josh Dolan, Jif Edmondson and Mike Edmondson, Mandy Goldman and Sam Lupowitz, Jennie Lowe and Nate Richardson.

According to Quinn, the idea for this show came about when Jennifer Middaugh (Sim Redmond Band, Bronwen Exter, Mary Lorson) had the idea to do a set of songs by local artists she had performed with as a backup singer for a future Collective show. Quinn saw the potential for this to be a theme for a whole show and presented the idea to all of the performers.

“The response was overwhelming,” she said, “So overwhelming that I had enough interest and enthusiasm to turn it into two shows.” Part 2 will take place Feb. 18 at Lot 10.

“We immediately knew we wanted to do this show,” said Lupowitz and Goldman. “There’s such a vibrant array of local music in this town, and we’re both constantly inspired by it. So many great songwriters in such a small radius — it’s impossible not to want to cover their music. Plus, so many artists in Ithaca have been so receptive to us; it’s nice to pay tribute to them this way.”

“I am a musician, but first and foremost a lover of music,” Lowe added. “I was drawn to this town because I heard that it was musician friendly! My biggest heroes are some of my friends, and I want to honor them by singing their songs.”

Among those covered will be The Blind Spots, Alan Rose, Madder Rose, Johnny Dowd, Crow Greenspun, Angie Beeler, Anna Coogan and Joe Crookston.

 – Original Article

 

HCTF – Best of 2016

  • By Hans Werksman
  • December 29th, 2016

Where’s …
David Bowie, Radiohead, Nick Cave? Or that album that you liked so much?

Simple. HCTF picked the 20 best albums that were actually reviewed on this blog.

HCTF lists the 20 albums that will be in regular rotation for many years to come.

2016 was a memorable year for music lovers.

  • Vinyl is back
  • The majors are still running around in circles, trying to keep their cashflow alive
  • streaming is now big business (for the artist not so much).
  • “Self-released” has become a regular tag. Even big time acts go for crowdfunding to cover the costs of making an album, sometimes aided by a small network of indie labels to carry the load of distribution.
  • Software is catching up with the studio as a means of home recording – untrained ears will have a hard time to hear the difference.

One thing will never change: independent music is where it’s at when you are on the 1look out for something interesting to listen to.

Sadly some of the greats are no longer with us – David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen as well two of the finest sidemen – Scotty Moore and Bernie Worrell. As 2016 drew too a close underrated Stus Quo rhythm guitarist Rick Parfitt and singer George Michael also checked out.

7 Johnny Dowd: Execute American Folklore   Cover_Execute

The perennial outsider updates his output with an assorted array of gizmos.

So whatever happened to the left-field country artist of yore? That guy left the building a couple of albums ago. Dowd has embraced technology or more accurately is stretching it to its outer capabilities, banging his gear into submission and messing with preprogrammed presets in peculiar ways. He is more of a wrestler than a player. Title track Execute American Folklore is heavily distorted call to arms for a revolution that will never happen, but at least there is anthem just in case.

 – Original Article with The Rest of the Best

No Depression – The Best of Everything and a Johnny Dowd Xmas

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webclip_amos-perrineIt Was One Helluva Year: The Best of Everything in 2016

Johnny Dowd – Execute American Folklore

It’s hard to  believe that Dowd has 20 albums under his belt, not including his contributions to many others, including my personal favorite: a one-of-a kind revisionist/reimagination tribute to Townes Van Zandt, There’s a Hole in Heaven Where Some Sin Slips Through. I was fortunate to catch Dowd twice in July, where he played songs from his 21st album, Execute American Folklore. I have described him before as William S. Burroughs with a guitar, with a pre/post punk mentality, mixed with alt-country. Live, he’s a tightrope walker. But on record, the firebrand is controlled, smooth to the emotional touch as he glides — first on high, then back down to a semblance of Earth.

Dowd’s half-spoken, half-sung lyrics are like poetry set against more of an electronic backdrop that some of his other work, with a groove, a definite groove. You can also dance to it. A nice example is the segue from “Sexual Revolution” (“You’re either part of the problem or part of the pollution” with an under layer of a tortured “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” Wynette-style). That moves into the electronica of “Mr. Muggles,” punctuated with horns and the operatic vocal of Anna Coogan, where Coogan plays Klaus Nomi to Dowd’s Bowie. Then again into “Rumba in the Park” with a Caribbean, rockabilly feel with a distant fuzzy guitar where you have found yourself in a Jim Jarmusch movie. I don’t think Dowd has ever been more literate than on this album, with his vocals distinctly mixed so you can bask into the Beat-like delivery and imagery.  (Dowd is also included in ND’s fall issue, “Speak Up!”)

 – Original Article with The Rest of the Best

                                           It’s a Johnny Dowd Christmas!

  • webclip_terrell-headerBy Steve Terrell
  • December 25th, 2016

There’s no Terrell’s Sound World tonight, but to make up for it, here are THREE Christmas songs from the unstopable Johnny Dowd!

(Thanks and Merry Xmas to T. Tex Edwards, whose tweet just a few minutes ago inspired this post. Now I’m waiting for the T. Tex Christmas album …)

Live at The Dock – IMOP

 

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Christmas Party for the self-employed !

               At the Dock tonite!

 

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Live at The Dock – Ithaca Musicians Office Party

                                                       It’s a party at The Dock

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