Whoa, just made it to these shows before NYS shutdown. None of us got sick afterwards, and we hope no one who came to the shows did, either. The rest of the house party tour got cancelled, and a couple of art shows in the making put on hold. May both these venues are up and running safely soon, because they were both most fun hangs.
The Falcon on March 6 was a major revelation. How did we not know about a venue as magnificent as this, and an owner/soundman as interesting as Tony Falco? Not only did Tony and his superhero wife (she’s a teacher) put us up, but he walked us through, yes, fixing another tour flat tire.
First off: location location location.
The inimitable George Spafford opened for Johnny and Mike.
Next on March 7, skidding into MA broadside in a cloud of smoke, was what turned out to be the last show of the shortened tour. The Super Secret One that must have somehow leaked out, because not only packed house, but Brian and Kim!
(Swag mucho appreciated, Jim!)
So sorry Lucky Penny and Roadmaster Stage. We missed you guys! If John comes your way someday, here’s my fav sign ever by the fans in MA-feel free to use!:
Live in vicinity of Haverhill, MA? On March 7 Americana outsider Johnny Dowd plays an intimate show in someone’s house. Inquiries via email. with any luck he might play some of the stuff he is working on for his next album.
03/06 Marlboro, NY @ The Falcon & The Falcon Underground
Johnny Dowd is messng around in the studio, reinventing himself again for his next album, the follow-up for Family Picni. Technology and rock ‘will meet and weird and wonderful things could happen as part of the process:
Working on some new stuff — going in a whole new direction. Samples and heavy drum machine. Somewhere between brilliant and total self-indulgence. At the same time, I’m working with buddy Mike Edmondson on some straight-up rock songs. Can I put the two together? My point is, I’m still cranking it and chasing the dream — or my own ass. Whichever comes first.
“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… Gloriously deviant.“ – The Independent (London)
“While most artists play it safe on stage and stick close to the studio versions, Dowd and his band love to turn things upside down and inside out. Warts and all is pretty much their modus operandi. He’s a music critics’ favourite, and a cult artist with a fervent and vocal fan base.” – Hans Werksman / werksman.blogspot.com
“Dowd has made a career of making music full of piercingly bleak, hard fought, gnarled dreamscapes that make David Lynch’s tales seem like those of a choir boy. But just when I thought I had him figured out, Dowd delivers a blues record so beautiful that I cannot stop playing it. It is also full of demons that live on a merry-go-round with feedback and distortion taking the places of the painted ponies going up and down. Paradoxically, it’s his most accessible music in quite a while, maybe ever.” – No Depression (US)
This is a man clearly in charge of his musical vision, and that vision includes a broad grasp of rock’s so-called rich tapestry. Dowd ekes out noir-ish psychedelic blues, takes old surf riffs and slows ’em down to a funeral procession trudge, and yelps his way through “trashabilly”.
Johnny Dowd is an American alternative country musician from Ithaca, New York. There’s a strong undercurrent of black humor and the absurd in his work.His song-style style comprises experimental, noisy breaks and strong gothic elements, lyrically and instrumentally.
Sitting here at the Wherehouse getting ready to rock the apocalypse. The bands were fed a nicely varied menu and appropriate quantities of liquid. George’s band goes on first, followed, we think, by Johnny Dowd and Mike “Jim” Edmondson.Lots of beautiful people have wandered in, but where to put the band? Chaos ensues.
Johnny checks out Georges spirit
Suddenly apocalypse is post, and George Spafford is at the mic.
Then John and Mike hit the stage without a pause, and don’t stop till they get enough…
Thanks to the Wherehouse for the welcoming space, to the friendly crowd, to the Freejays for closing out the night, and to George for his hospitality.
Ithaca NY’s Johnny Dowd has been patrolling the dark, uneasy, unclassified byways and B-roads of the American heartlands for over two decades. A blistering, uncompromising guitar slinger and songwriter, Dowd is set to release his new album ‘Family Picnic’ this month, an ‘americana’ gem that returns to the topics and themes that inspired his legendary debut, ‘Wrong Side Of Memphis‘ and once again underlines Dowd as one of America’s true musical explorers. Americana-UK catches up with him as he prepares to embark on another European tour and asks him about the music that accompanies any such road trip.
So Johnny, how’s life on the road for you and what’s in that glovebox?
There comes a time on every tour when the next drive is too far, your emotional tank is nearly empty, and you can think of nothing but your mortality. At that point, you pull out ZZ Top’s ‘Greatest Hits,’ and you are again ready to conquer the world.
After a gig I want to hear something as far away from the music I played as possible. Sun Ra fits the bill. Any Sun Ra album. It doesn’t matter. He is the tallest giant in a universe of giants.
Today is an easy drive. You feel like you are not a day over 60. In other words, all is groovy. It’s time for Grant Green’s ‘Ain’t it Funky Now.’ Funky and sophisticated.
One of the first albums I bought was James Brown, Live at the Apollo. The very first album I bought was by Percy Faith. I don’t know what that was about. I do love a string section. So many great James Brown albums, but I guess James Brown Live at Paris Olympia 1971 has got to be high on the list. Speaking of high, I don’t know what the band was on, but some of those tempos are ridiculous.
This is another album that’s good after a greasy English breakfast. Incredible playing, uber funky, socially interesting. Of course I’m talking about ‘Headhunters,’ Herbie Hancock. Anything you can do, he can do better.
It’s that boring time after sound check and dinner. You really have nothing left to say to your band mates, let alone strangers. I might go to the van for some alone time and listen to Mary Wells, ‘All the Best.’ This album is like a time machine for me. I can usually only listen to a couple of songs before I start getting too emotional. Then it’s time for a brewski.
Any time is a perfect time to play this record. You could listen to it before your greasy English breakfast, just to get your mind and belly in alignment. ‘Paid in Full,’ Eric B. and Rakim. (Have I mentioned Betty Davis, the woman who put the funk in Miles?) ( Yes, MANY times…. ed.)
Late night. Trying to find the hotel. Lost. Twenty minute drive turns into an hour-and-a-half. No problem. ‘The Very Best of ‘ Johnny Guitar Watson (Rhino Records) will keep you focussed, relaxed, and alert. I just love his guitar playing.
You have a day off. You would prefer to stay in your motel room and watch tv. But your band mates want to drive somewhere to see ancient ruins. What can you do? Dial up some Sonny Sharrock, ‘Ask the Ages.’ This album affects me the way The Dark Side of the Moon affects hippies.
Sometimes, hopefully only once per tour, you are lying in bed in your motel room, it’s 3 AM, and sleep is impossible. You are engulfed in an ocean of loneliness and regret, and there is only one album that really captures that feeling: ‘Only the Lonely,’ Frank Sinatra. But if it’s the last day of the tour, and you are headed to the airport, then the only album to play is his ‘Songs for Swinging Lovers.’ Boundless swinging optimism. So that is touring. Hours of great music in the van. Followed by a gig, motel, breakfast. Repeat.
Johnny Dowd, 7 p.m. Dec. 7, Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.), $7.
Experimental alt-country artist Johnny Dowd will be posting up at Mohawk Place for a set Saturday night.
The influential Ithaca musician is back on the road to perform songs from his well-received March effort “Family Picnic.” The record once again finds the seasoned Dowd delivering a dark and avant-garde take on Americana, full of noise, black humor and twisted tales of love and murder.
Those unfamiliar with Dowd’s brand of roots music of should look to fellow left-of-the-dial genre acts like Palace Music, Songs: Ohia and Lambchop for comparison.
Ithaca-based glam-rocker Kurt Riley also will be featured on the bill with local support provided by dreamy post-rock outfit Which Witch and minimal guitar rock group Rabbit Jaw.