Live @ Koffie en Ambacht (review by Le Cri du Coyote)

 

 

TICKETS

 

 

The album of the moment, and probably of the year, is without a doubt Johnny Dowd’s. “Family Picnic” is – pardon my french – a splendid cubist portrait of forty years of American music. Let’s say Georges Braque with a Fender amp and a flask of whiskey. Is it really necessary to introduce Johnny Dowd ? Twenty years of activity and almost as many albums since “Wrong Side Of Memphis” in 1997. Now at 70, his energy seems intact. His sound cocktail, strong in taste, bitter on the palate, has not changed much since its inception. Just refined. Black humor (desperately black), funky riffs, bitter stories and mixing styles like crazy. On this new album, he succeeds in synthesizing all this and even more, twisting his own songs in all directions, with often a simple rhythm Bo Diddleybox as backbone, slashed by raw guitars and distorted organs. Somewhere at the crossroads, in the good company of Alan Vega, Captain Beefheart, Bo Diddley and Jim Thompson. It is, indeed, the author of “The Killer Inside Me” that comes to mind. For the gall, this almost medical description of the conjugal self-pity, for the miserable and frustrated trajectories of characters that Johnny invites us to observe, with some assumed and wicked voyeurism. This angle, the vision of a troubled America, mixed with blues roots, tribal rock and poisoned hymns, is definitely his signature. And it is simply unique in today’s music territory. By his side, long-time companions Kim Sherwood-Caso or Michael Edmondson add some blinking christmas tree lights to the crime scene. Ice on this cake : Dowd has fun, in a Bob Dylan’s punky fashion, while methodically dissecting one of his standards to the bone (“Thomas Dorsey”, featured on Hellwood’s album, shared with Jim White, another rare bird). It’s wobbly & wonky, the antithesis of easy-listening, it itches and it stings. Let’s take “Four Gray Walls” : Just picture the end of some unlikely festival, and on the main stage, a stubborn tipsy tramp is refusing to let go off the microphone and the guitar, stolen from the headlining fancy star, that is actually snoring since long in the clean sheets of the best local hotel. There you have it – sort of. It’s vivid and rotten at the same time, it’s shaking and intriguing, unlike the vast majority of nowadays productions. Johnny is a hero. Johnny is on a European tour this spring. No date in France. Of course. But who can say no to a weekend in one of our many neighboring & friendly countries of this beautiful – and wobbly as well – Europe ?

— Dyl Dylan, Le Cri du Coyote (France)

 

 

Johnny Dowd Live @ Quinns

Quinn’s favorite troubadour is back! Fresh off the release of his exploration into American music’s public domain! His new record Twinkle, Twinkle will take you places with classic pieces of the American song book like “Sweet Clementine” and “House of the Rising Sun” that you once thought not possible. Give it a good look at http://johnnydowd.com/

“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. . . . Gloriously deviant.“

— Andy Gill, The Independent (London)

(The following is from a previous Facebook post for a Quinn’s gig Johnny was forced to cancel, but it bears repeating!-Editors)

Johnny Fucking Dowd at Quinns :

“The clock says noon, but is it midnight? The world without me? That’d be alright” -Johnny

It doesn’t matter what time it is when you hear Johnny Dowd, it’s always too late. The man’s music eclipses everything produced today in the Indie-mainstream. Wry and thought provoking (White Dolemite). Depraved and funky (3/29/48). Playful yet dark and hollow (A World Without Me). Every emotion inspired by these tunes exists balanced on a razors edge. The beauty can only be fully realized when everything falls apart to reveal the nebulous ambivalence of the webs Johnny weaves. The man’s an instituion and we’re all just lucky enough to be late to the party.

http://www.johnnydowd.com/

 

Oor and The Independent review Twinkle Twinkle

The older, the crazier? Next year he turns 70, but since he discovered the use of synths, electronics and beats alongside his guitar, a whole new world seems to have opened for the New York singer/guitar player.He lets himself go, wonderfully off-key and against the grain, with songs from among others Jane Taylor (etc)

‘As if Hank Williams is transformed into Captain Beefheart who bought himself a bunch of primitive electronics’ the Independent wrote. We agree. Soon he will be touring with Melle de Boer. Nice couple!

 – Translation by Tamara Veldman via Facebook

 

SoundBlab reviews Twinkle Twinkle

JOHNNY DOWD – TWINKLE TWINKLE

New Album

Johnny Dowd first caught my ear in 1999 with, Pictures From Life’s Other Side.Wherein he demonically skewered a maudlin Hank Williams ditty. As for the rest, it was the musical equivalent of Sam Shepherd’s, Buried Child. To this day, it remains one of my favorite albums. On Other Side’s ‘God Created Woman’ there’s the ominous line, “Meet me in the parking lot, up on level three. There’s something I gotta show you. There’s something you just gotta see.” Dowd’s latest, Twinkle Twinkle might just be that something.

His last album, Execute American Folklore, pretty much was a statement of intent. Twinkle Twinkle, takes its cue from there and then proceeds to wreak unholy carnage on what have become the standards of American Folklore. By the time he’s done, you won’t recognize them. They’re beyond redemption. Like Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask ReplicaTwinkle Twinkle is an ornery, willfully perverse work of Art.

“The coo coo is a pretty bird,” Clarence Ashley once crooned on a scratchy bit of shellac sometime in early 20th Century. Well, Dowd’s version is just plain cuckoo. Here this well-worn standard sounds like it joined up with Devo after a 5th of Jim Beam. This bird is so mean, it will rip your heart out like a buzzard if you so much as tip toe around it. And you not only won’t recognize this ‘St. James Infirmary’, you’ll need directions home after sliding all over the guts spilled on the floor.  In Dowd’s hands, Son House’s ‘John The Revelator’ reads more like a Dear John letter to Nietzsche’s lost, dead God. ‘Tom Dooley’ gets a make- over with a pair of brass knuckles. And God help you if you’re caught snoozing in this ‘House of The Rising Sun’. If that weren’t enough, Dowd has cut the most unsettling and terrifying version of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ you’ll ever hear. Mozart must be laughing in his grave.

In terms of Dowd’s song choices, nothing on this album is arbitrary. Titles like, ‘Trouble In Mind’ and ‘Going Down The Road Feeling Bad’ have resonance in regards to what’s currently going on in the ol’ Red White and Blue. Forgive me for getting political here, but in its entirety Twinkle Twinkle can be viewed as a biting commentary on the America so many bigots like to “God bless” all the time. This album is undeniably a crooked middle finger to our political culture and times. It doesn’t take a stable genius to see that. What Dowd has laid down here, is no accident. If one’s followed Dowd’s career, he’s been moving in this direction for years. In fact, he’s always dealt these cards out. But with Twinkle Twinkle he goes for the jugular with all the gusto and surgical precision of Jack the Ripper. In fact, this little opus could have just as easily be entitled, Jack The Ripper Sings American Folk Songs. 

In any event, Twinkle Twinkle is the perfect soundtrack to the madness under the surface of our affable myths of melting pots, baseball, apple pie and fireworks on the 4th of July. Here Dowd is ripping the band aid off and staring that ugly beast right in the face. And doing it with brains, heart and moral outrage. Not to mention one hell of a twisted sense of humor.

Woody Guthrie wrote, “This Machine Kill Fascists” on his guitar for a damn good reason. Despite Pete Seeger and the Civil Rights movement, a lot of these songs were watered down by the white bread likes of the Kingston Trio. Glossed over as coffee house clap a-longs for entitled college students. Then later, came O Brother Where Art Thou and the shallow hipster Alt Country/Americana revival. By comparison, Twinkle Twinkle isn’t easy or pretty listening. But it sure has balls. Not to mention, vision. If you despised what the likes of Kingston Trio did to American Folk Music, you’ll take pure delight in this. Revenge is sweet.

 – Original article

 

Feeling Bad Tour @ Cloud Nine

 

 

Twee gelijkgestemde zielen bundelen hun krachten in de ‘Going down the road feeling bad’-tournee! Beeldend kunstenaar/muzikant Melle de Boer is frontman van de band Smutfish – hun debuutalbum Lawnmower Mind (2003), vol melancholisch existentialisme, geldt als grondlegger van de Nederlandse ‘country noir’. De Amerikaanse singer-songwriter Johnny Dowd put voor zijn alt.country uit dezelfde donkere bron als De Boer – niet voor niets wordt hij vergeleken met Nick Cave, Tom Waits en Captain Beefheart. Dowd komt in december 2017 met een nieuw album vol interpretaties van Amerikaanse folk klassiekers. De traditionele liedjes worden precies zoals ze horen te klinken gebracht door Dowd en De Boer gebracht: vol met ziel, actualiteit en elektriciteit. Verwacht geen slaperige singer-songwriteravond, maar een concert vol contrasten!

 

Facebook event

– Original site

Two like-minded souls join forces in the ‘Going down the road feeling bath’ tour! Visual artist / musician Melle de Boer is frontman of the band Smutfish – their debut album Lawnmower Mind (2003), full of melancholic existentialism, is the founder of the Dutch ‘country noir’.The American singer-songwriter Johnny Dowd draws for his alt.country from the same dark source as De Boer – not for nothing he is compared to Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart. Dowd arrives in December 2017 with a new album full of interpretations of American folk classics. The traditional songs are brought exactly as they should be brought by Dowd and De Boer: full of soul, current and electricity. Do not expect a sleepy singer-songwriter’s evening, but a concert full of contrasts!