Family Picnic review by Festivalinfo.nl

Recensie Johnny Dowd : Family Picnic

Al ruim dertig jaar behoort Johnny Dowd tot de gevestigde orde van de rootsmuziek, van de alternatieve country of dat wat wij tegenwoordig beter kennen als Americana. Maar ondanks de prachtige loftuitingen die er zoal over hem zijn geschreven, heeft Dowd nog nooit een groot publiek voor zijn muziek weten te bereiken. Niet vreemd als je bedenkt dat de eigenzinnige muzikant er werkelijk alles aan doet om maar niet de reeds geplaveide wegen te bewandelen. Geniale maar dikwijls bizarre spitsvondigheden en wereldvreemde avonturen in tekst en muziek maken het de luisteraars nu niet gemakkelijk. Vooral op het vorig jaar verschenen Twinkle, Twinkle leek Dowd behoorlijk de weg kwijt te zijn. Al eerder werden door hem de scherpe randjes en de viezige kantjes van de rootsmuziek opgezocht. Dat de drank en drugs daarbij een rol speelden lijkt waarschijnlijk. De vertroebelde blik maakte zijn muziek en zijn teksten echter echter altijd fascinerend. Om de sfeer te optimaliseren zocht hij regelmatig een inspirerende omgeving op. Zo begon hij ooit met schrijven in het kantoor van zijn verhuisbedrijfje, maar maakte hij later ook eens gebruik van een studio waarvan de muren volledig waren voorzien van overlijdensberichten. Maffe onderwerpen en thema’s als ‘moord’, ‘dood’ en ook de trieste kanten van de liefde werden altijd al graag bezongen door de ooit in Texas geboren, maar tegenwoordig in New York woonachtige muzikant. Wie dacht dat Dowd zijn wilde haren inmiddels wel kwijt zou zijn geraakt in de loop van de tijd, en zo’n vijftien studioalbums later, komt bedrogen uit.

Op het eerder dit jaar verschenen Family Picnic horen we hem namelijk weer op de zijn zo bekende zwartgallige wijze. Na eerst de luisteraar op het verkeerde been te hebben gezet met de vreemde instrumentale opener ‘Hoodoo’, volgt een even zo merkwaardige wals, waarin Johnny stoeit met distortion en andere gruizige tonen die je uit een elektrische gitaar kunt toveren. ”I was never the man of your dreams” klinkt het vals, maar zeer gemeend gezongen. In het donkere ‘Vicksburg’ lijkt het zelfs of Tom Waits tijdens het opnemen de studio is komen binnensluipen. De Amerikaanse Burgeroorlog wordt hier op wel heel bijzondere wijze beschreven. Angstaanjagend is het, zonder enige remming. Het is typerend voor Dowd waarvan je je nauwelijks kunt voorstellen dat hij inmiddels de zeventig jaar is gepasseerd. Met puntig gitaarwerk en elektronische beats rapt hij zich door ‘Shameless’ en begeeft hij zich tijdens ‘Walking The Floor’ in een vreemde duistere wereld. Met vocale hulp van Kim Sherwood-Caso en ondersteund door Michael Edmondson op gitaar en xylorimba, een bijzonder slaginstrument, neemt Dowd de luisteraar mee in normale, alledaagse gebeurtenissen zoals een familie-picknick, maar is niets zoals het lijkt dat het is. Vrijwel alles ontaardt in een surrealistische toestand en lijkt genialiteit en waanzin heel nauw met elkaar verwant. Hartstochtelijk gezongen is de lieve ode aan gospelzanger Thomas Dorsey door Dowd die, hoe tegenstrijdig ook, zich altijd voornamelijk met Duivelse muziek heeft ingelaten. Ondanks de goede bedoelingen klinkt ‘Let’s Have A Party’ weliswaar uitnodigend, maar wij slaan deze uitnodiging liever af en genieten op afstand van de muzikale capriolen van deze bijzondere veteraan op deze zeer interessante Family Picnic.

Recensent:Jeroen Bakker      Artiest:Johnny Dowd        Label:Mother Jinx Records
                                                                                   – Original Article

 

For more than thirty years, Johnny Dowd has been part of the established order of roots music, of the alternative country or what we now know better as Americana. But despite the wonderful lofting that has been written about him, Dowd has never managed to reach a large audience for his music. Not surprising when you consider that the idiosyncratic musician really does everything he can to not walk the paved roads. Ingenious, but often bizarre, quirks and worldly adventures in text and music do not make it easy for listeners. Especially on the last year, Twinkle, Twinkle Dowd seemed to be pretty lost. Earlier, he looked up the sharp edges and the filthy edges of the roots music. It seems likely that alcohol and drinks played a role in this. However, the blurred look always made his music and lyrics fascinating. To optimize the atmosphere, he regularly sought out an inspiring environment. For example, he once started writing in the office of his removal company, but later he also used a studio whose walls were completely covered with obituaries. Stupid subjects and themes such as ‘murder’, ‘death’ and also the sad sides of love have always been liked by the musician who was once born in Texas, but now lives in New York.On the Family Picnic , which was published earlier this year, we can hear it again in its well-known black-and-white manner. After having misled the listener with the strange instrumental opener ‘Hoodoo’, an equally remarkable waltz follows, in which Johnny plays with distortion and other gritty tones that you can conjure from an electric guitar. “I was never the man of your dreams”it sounds fake, but sincerely sung. In the dark ‘Vicksburg’ it even seems as if Tom Waits came sneaking into the studio during the recording. The American Civil War is described here in a very special way. It is frightening, without any inhibition. It is typical of Dowd that you can hardly imagine that he has now passed the seventy years. With pointed guitar work and electronic beats, he raps through ‘Shameless’ and enters a strange dark world during ‘Walking The Floor’. With vocal help from Kim Sherwood-Caso and supported by Michael Edmondson on guitar and xylorimba, a special percussion instrument, Dowd takes the listener into normal, everyday events such as a family picnic, but is nothing as it seems. Almost everything degenerates into a surrealistic situation and genius and madness seem very closely related. Sung passionately is the sweet ode to gospel singer Thomas Dorsey by Dowd, who, however contradictory, has always been mainly involved with Devil’s music. Despite the good intentions, ‘Let’s Have A Party’ sounds inviting, but we prefer to decline this invitation and enjoy the musical antics of this special veteran from a very interesting distance.Family Picnic .
                                                                        – Translation by Google

Live @ Hillberry Jam

John and Mike, along with the usual suspects, will be playing at the annual Brightspark festival in a new location this year, so it’s got a new name! And camping!

Soundoff: Hillberry Jam set to debut this weekend

Jim Catalano, Special to ithacajournal.com
(Ed note: The original August date was postponed due to weather, and is corrected here)
The local music scene will get another mini-festival this weekend, when the Hillberry Jam debuts just over the Tompkins County line in Berkshire.

Held at Hillberry, a U-pick organic blueberry farm close to the intersection of Routes 38 and 79, the event will run from early Friday evening through noon Sunday and feature more than a dozen Ithaca bands — many of them familiar, but some lesser known.

Hillberry Jam is the brainchild of Park Doing, former leader of the Atomic Forces and currently a solo act that toured the U.S. with Guided by Voices and Europe with Johnny Dowd over the past year. Doing has organized similar events under the “Brightspark” moniker over the past decade, most of which have drawn inspiration from the ABC Café, the now-closed Collegetown restaurant that hosted hundreds of shows during its lifetime.

Many of the acts on the lineup used to perform regularly at the ABC, including Ken Hallett, who ran the place for years, and Doing himself.

“It turns out I’m a nostalgic guy — I had a lot of good experiences there, and it was where I first started playing,” Doing said in a recent interview. “Ken was the only guy who would give me a show.”

After holding Brightspark Festivals at the Rongovian Embassy in Trumansburg and the Brooktondale Community Center, Doing decided to move it to Hillberry, which he visited with his young daughter a couple of years ago. He thanks owners Karin and Pat Dahlender for agreeing to host the Jam.

“They have this beautiful property, so I told them we should do a musical event out there,” Doing said. “Then they bought these additional 40 acres, with fields and hills, so now we’re going to take it to the hills of upstate New York. It’s going to be associated with their farm, and will celebrate end of their (picking) season.”

Here’s the lineup, which Doing described as “country rock with a little noise mixed in”:

Friday: 6 p.m., Ken Hallett; 7, The 86ers; 8, Angie Beeler; 9, Insolent Cur; 10, Nowzers; 11, Drew Kiddoo and the Blackouts.

Saturday: 1 p.m., PAD9; 2, Strange Heavy; 3, Cole DuMond; 3:30, Shaka; 5, DJ Dijon; 6, Park Doing; 7, Squatters; 8, Johnny Dowd; 9, Sunny Weather; 10, Ken Hallett; 11, Ithaca Beatscene

Sunday: Noon, Open Jam.

The event is free to attend, with a $25 fee if you want to camp (reserve a site through AirBnB). The festival address is 0 West Creek Road in Berkshire; the farm itself is at 785 Jewitt Hill Road in Berkshire. Bring your own food and water, but leave your dogs at home.

For more information, visit pad923.wixsite.com/hillberryjam.

(Just fer fun, here’s the Brightspark show from 2015.)

Soundblabs Most Depressing Album and Moor review of Family Picnic

THE TOP 40 MOST DEPRESSING ALBUMS

 by Kevin Orton    25 Apr 2019
“These are oft cited as the most depressing and dark albums of all time. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in my book. There’s something to be said for an artist laying it on the line and going to places where angels fear to tread. I don’t find them depressing. I find them inspiring and beautiful.”
Coming in at Number 36 ( Really? Not a bummer enough for Number 1?):

The first song on Pictures from Life’s Other Side is a little jarring to the sensibilities.

Actually, all the songs are jarring in one way or another, but that first song is just plain unpleasant. The image that comes to mind is of Nick Cave sitting in on a session with Morphine and something going terribly wrong. Luckily, I persevered and waited for track number-two. From then on, I was hooked.

Track number-two, titled “Worried Mind,” and featuring a chorus lifted from Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya,” is pure, sinister listening pleasure. Johnny Dowd is funny, scary, and ultimately, highly entertaining. His musical arrangements are inventive, occasionally hypnotic, even sensual… let’s see, what other adjectives can I throw in here? I’ll say this. Try slow-dancing to “Worried Mind” by candlelight and see if you don’t have some kind of epiphany.

Johnny Dowd is like the Hal Ketchum of the current indie scene. You may recall that Ketchum broke through as a country music recording artist only after a much less visible career in construction or roofing or some such. Similarly, Dowd was in the army and then worked as a furniture mover for many of his fifty-one years, although since he released his first album, Wrong Side of Memphis, which showed up on a number of critics’ Ten Best lists for 1998, he might be able to hire someone to move his furniture now.

Dowd writes his own songs, and given the nature of these tunes, it’s no surprise that he gets a lot of press as some kind of weirdo. Jason Ankeny, a critic for the All-Music Guide, described Dowd’s work as “sick, twisted… and genuinely horrifying.” (see full review below-Ed.) I don’t know if it’s all that. It’s what rock and roll should be: pushing the edge of the envelope. As Dowd himself has said, “a few times I lost the faith, but I’m still a true believer in the power of music. Rock-n-roll is my religion.”

In “The Girl Who Made Me Sick,” Dowd sings “You have a dirty, dirty mind; you got a missionary smile. It’s a strange combination; it drove me crazy after a while.” I wonder if this qualifies as projection, psychologically speaking?

I should mention that Kim Sherwood-Caso’s backing vocals are perfect on this album.

Overall, Pictures from Life’s Other Side rates a Groovy Factor of Four out of Five, which means I’d go out and buy it right now if I wasn’t lucky enough to already own it.

 – Original review in Eclectica

AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny

If there was even the tiniest bit of comfort to be wrung from Johnny Dowd‘s singularly disturbing debut album, Wrong Side of Memphis, it was that the record’s stark, homespun tales of murder, misery, and malice seemed light years removed from reality, evoking a backwoods dementia so completely over the top it often threatened to veer into the ridiculous. Pictures from Life’s Other Side ups the ante considerably: Complete with full-band backing, crisp production, and a broader musical spectrum, the effect is much more chilling, as within this more conventional framework, Dowd‘s obsessions manifest themselves in new and sinister ways, cloaking his fixations and fetishes behind the subterfuge of a suspiciously listenable blend of country, blues, and pop. Where Wrong Side of Memphis immediately revealed itself as the ravings of a madman, Pictures from Life’s Other Side is much sneakier — at first glance, “Hope You Don’t Mind” appears to be a heart-wrenching ballad of unrequited love, but on closer inspection the object of the middle-aged Dowd‘s affection is a schoolgirl; likewise, the hauntingly atmospheric “No Woman’s Flesh But Hers” is a testament to undying love, in this case a husband’s pledge to his comatose wife. Sick, twisted, and undeniably compelling, Pictures from Life’s Other Sidedelivers where countless shock rock and gangsta rap records fall short, capturing a musical vision that’s genuinely disquieting.

 

Still shooting for that Number One spot with his latest release Family Picnic:

johnny dowd family picnic

Johnny Dowd debuteerde zo’n dertig jaar geleden met een donker Americana-album, Wrong Side of Memphis, en met Family Picnic keert hij terug naar die rootsrock omgeving. De teksten hebben nog steeds die zwarte humor, luister maar eens naar het portret dat hij van een familie neerzet in de titelsong van dit album, daar zou je niet vrolijk van worden, als hij het niet zo grappig formuleerde. En dat is eigenlijk ook waarom ik een zwak heb voor deze Amerikaanse singer/songwriter – hij is grappig en werkt op mijn lachspieren, ook met een nummer als Let’s Have a Party, waarbij ik echt onweerstaanbaar in de lach schiet, hoe knullig die drums ook mogen klinken, of misschien wel juist daarom. Hij opent overigens met een heel lekkere instrumental, Hoodoo, die je meteen in de stemming brengt voor goede moordballades en liedjes over andere ellende.

Johnny Dowd is inmiddels zeventig en laat zich begeleiden door twee muzikanten waar hij vaker mee samenwerkte, Michael Edmondson en Kim Sherwood-Caso, en dat werkt perfect. Een perfect Americana-album. Mis de tournee niet die Dowd begin 2019 naar Europa brengt.

Luister hier naar een paar fragmenten:

 – Original Article

Johnny Dowd made his debut some thirty years ago with a dark Americana album, Wrong Side of Memphis, and with Family Picnic he returns to that roots rock environment. The lyrics still have that black humor, just listen to the portrait he puts down from a family in the title song of this album, you wouldn’t be happy if he didn’t put it that funny. And that is actually why I have a weakness for this American singer / songwriter – he is funny and works on my muscles, also with a song like Let’s Have a Party , in which I really laugh irresistibly, no matter how silly those drums are. may sound, or perhaps precisely because of that. Incidentally, he opens with a very tasty instrumental, Hoodoo, which immediately gets you in the mood for good murder ballads and songs about other misery.

Johnny Dowd is now seventy and is accompanied by two musicians with whom he has collaborated more often, Michael Edmondson and Kim Sherwood-Caso, and that works perfectly. A perfect Americana album.

 – translation by Google

Live @ Lokaal42 – last day of Family Picnic tour!

Eindelijk bij Lokaal42 Johnny Dowd! Met zijn nieuwe album Family Picnic op zak tourt hij vanaf april 2019 door Europa en doet daarbij ook ons lokaal aan!

– Johnny Dowd –
Alternatieve countryzanger Johnny Dowd fascineert fans en critici al sinds zijn eerste album Wrong Side of Memphis in 1997 uitkwam. Met ongeveer één nieuw album per jaar blijft hij zijn eigen draai geven aan de Amerikaanse rootsmuziek. Hij maakt donkere, maar humoristische en catchy songs die doen denken aan Tom Waits, Nick Cave en Captain Beefheart.

– Family Picnic –
Op 1 maart 2019 komt het nieuwe album Family Picnic uit, waarin Dowd terugkeert naar de roots rock arena waar hij ooit mee begon. Dertig jaar lang maakt hij al albums die de trends trotseren; een unieke verzameling werk dat met kop en schouders uitsteekt boven zijn gelauwerde tijdgenoten.

– Johnny Dowd over zijn nieuwe album –
“Had to dig pretty deep for this one. Not sure how many more tunes I have in me. Tick tock. This record took an unexpected turn to the past — my past. It’s kind of like “Wrong Side of Memphis” 30 years down the road. Surprisingly little has changed for me (emotionally, that is). I’m still drawn to the same themes — unrequited love, murder, general foolishness. Waltzes and shuffles and boom chuck beats abound. Ice cream chord changes. Plus Kim Sherwood-Caso and Mike Edmondson. What’s not to like? An Americana classic, if I do say so myself.”
— Johnny Dowd

Finally at Lokaal42 Johnny Dowd! With his new album Family Picnic in his pocket, he will be touring Europe from April 2019 and also visiting us locally! – Johnny Dowd – Alternative country singer Johnny Dowd has fascinated fans and critics ever since his first album Wrong Side of Memphis was released in 1997. With about one new album a year, he continues to give his own twist to American roots music. He makes dark but humorous and catchy songs that are reminiscent of Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Captain Beefheart. – Family Picnic – On March 1, 2019, the new album Family Picnic will be released, in which Dowd returns to the roots rock arena he once started. For thirty years he has been making albums that defy trends; a unique collection of work that stands head and shoulders above its acclaimed contemporaries.

Live @ KOHI Kulturraum

 

photo by Kat Dalton

Alternative-Country irgendwo zwischen Noise, Elektro, Punk und DiY (NY-Ithaca) Einlass 19.30h

www.johnnydowd.com/
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Dowd

Johnny Dowd trinkt gerne Whisky, ist Vietnamveteran und ehemaliger Möbelspediteur, war immerhin mal zwei Wochen verheiratet und singt, so schrieb ein Rezensent, “wie ein Serienkiller, der in einem Staubsauger gefangen ist”. Seine Songs sind skurrile Gesamtkunstwerke, zusammengebastelt aus Versatzstücken von Country, Blues und allem anderen. Dazu scheppert das Schlagzeug, Texte über unerwiderte Liebe, Mord und andere Fiesheiten stellen einem die Nackenhaare, und verzerrte Gitarren krachen, als würde es kein Morgen geben. Gibt es vielleicht auch nicht, denn wie Dowd selbst sagt: “Ich bin mir nicht sicher, wie viele Melodien ich noch in mir habe. Tick tock.” (a)

Johnny Dowd likes to drink whiskey, is a Vietnam veteran and former furniture forwarder, was married for two weeks and sings, a reviewer wrote, ” like a serial killer trapped in a vacuum cleaner. ” His songs are quirky Gesamtkunstwerke, made up of pieces of country, blues and everything else. The drums clank, lyrics about unrequited love, murder and other nasties put the hackles, and distorted guitars crack, as if there would be no tomorrow. Maybe it does not exist because, as Dowd himself says, “I’m not sure how many tunes I still have in it, tick tock.”

The Rocking Magpie

One man (and a few friend's) thoughts on Roots music from across the great divide.

sangiuseppe

la poesia è morta e non sarò io a resuscitarla

The Dowd Tribe

Making Something Out of Nothing Since Before You Were Born

Grrlfest

GF is an independent multi-platform music and arts festival to celebrate and empower women-identified artists

Peters portaal

Dit is dus geen weblog, maar een wegwijzer

Communiqué

The Official Blog Of WKDU Philadelphia 91.7 FM

No.9

An Artist's Journey

HariKari

Cutting through the fat of this world

Fans of Johnny Dowd

How Much Emptiness Can you Swallow?

michael stark music

official site for recording artist... Michael Stark

BlackCountryRock

Musings on music and anything else

sheila sea

like thalassic velvet

a nomad in cyberspace

the wonderings of a zig-zag wanderer

Ithaca Record Freak

Honest Reviews for local and small-time/indie artists

Blabber 'n' Smoke

A Glasgow view of Americana and related music and writings.

%d bloggers like this: