american.uk reviews Twinkle Twinkle – CD Release @ The Dock Tonite 2/17

Johnny Dowd “Twinkle, Twinkle” (Seven Shooter Music, 2017)

New AlbumFrom beneath the waters of this dark and eerie sonic soundscape emerge some of the most well-known songs in the American canon. The songs on this fine album are as familiar as, well, ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ – the title cut – along with ‘Tom Dooley’, ‘Oh My Darling Clementine’, ‘Red River Valley’, ‘St. James Infirmary’ and ‘House of the Rising Sun’. But it’s a safe bet you’ve never heard them done this way. Dowd is highly original, even eccentric. Sometimes these songs, familiar as they are, can be recognised only by the lyrics.

This album is dominated by dark, deep electronic sounds, anchored by a heavy beat. Dowd is credited with playing ‘all instruments’, but there’s little here that will remind you of any instruments you’ve ever heard before. The vocals are also handled mostly by Dowd. But ‘intones’ would be a better word than ‘sings’. Mostly he just speaks the words.

This isn’t an album you’ll put on when your Aunt Clara comes for a visit. Nor will you dance to it. Of the 13 tracks, only the opening cut – ‘Execute American Folklore, Again’ – was written by Dowd. All the others are songs for the ages. There are no spaces between the tracks. One song sinks into the sonic depths; then, soon enough, a new song emerges from the electronic murk. While the album cover lists 13 tracks, this is really one 36-minute long meditation on the great American songbook.

Dowd, 69, didn’t begin his music career until he was nearly 50, when he released the album ‘Wrong Side of Memphis’, devoted to songs of sin and murder. The album turned him into a cult figure; since then he’s released one unconventional album after another. The music can fall harshly on the ears on first listen. But the album grows on you. And while it’s not dance music, it definitely has a beat – deep pounding drums punctuate the songs.

This, in short, is a work of creativity and imagination – the work of a highly unusual mind. You’ll hear some of the most familiar American songs of all time, reinvented as if they’d been run through a mad computer. But madness and genius are closely related. ‘Twinkle, Twinkle’ is an album that, over time, will speak to you in many different ways. This one’s a keeper.

Feeling Bad Tour @ Worm Feb. 9

 

Johnny Dowd (US) + Melle de Boer

 

 

Language is a subject of constant debate in The Avantgardistic State. What is it best used for, and how? Here we have two exponents who take this linguistic to-and-fro down a country path [sic]. Expect a combination of Dutch and American grassroots music at its most fundamental.

Melle de Boer
Melle de Boer, known for his act Smutfish and his love of the American folk tradition addresses the idea that Dutch acts need to sing in English to be “successful”. Through his love of the American song tradition. De Boer will be joined by Suzanne Ypma.

Johnny Dowd
Johnny Dowd is an American alt country musician from Ithaca, New York. Expect songs full of experimental, noisy breaks with a strong int of the American Gothic and black humour. Many have compared his music to that of Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart. Dowd will be joined by guitarist Mike Edmondson.

 – Original site

Going down the road feeling bad | Johnny Dowd & Melle de Boer

Johnny Dowd and Melle de Boer travel through the Netherlands as a double bill. Their Going Down the Road Feeling Bad tour marks the occasion of the release of their new albums. Dowd and The Boer play their own songs and, in the collaborative part of the show, perform their joint, unconventional take on American traditional music.

Artist and musician Melle de Boer is known as the lead singer of his band Smutfish. Their 2003 debut record Lawnmower Mind is widely regarded as the founding album of Dutch ‘country noir’. American musician Johnny Dowd lives and breathes American blues, folk and country music, reinterpreting their traditions in his own experimental and darkly humorous way. Dowd and De Boer both have a knack for the eclectic. Don’t expect a sleepy singer songwriter night: their songs are beautiful, urgent, chaotic, loud, noisy, soothing, and above all, unforgettable.