Twinkle Reviews

Blabber ‘n’ Smoke

A Glasgow view of Americana and related music and writings

Johnny Dowd. Twinkle Twinkle.

twinklecoverforsite460wJohnny Dowd continues to eviscerate Americana on this wonderful collection of popular songs from the past which are chewed up and spat out by Dowd in his unmistakable style.  The album opens with a manifesto of sorts on the updated Execute American Folklore (Again)and it’s hard not to express a chuckle when this Residents like  caustic surge of electronica mutates into  Dowd’s delivery of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. We all know this lullaby but here it’s a bad dream vividly reimagined, more akin to Der Struwwelpeter than Disney with Anna Coogan’s operatic voice adding to the disquiet. Like a mad scientist let loose in a laboratory of steam punk synths Dowd plays all the instruments on the album; farts, parps, clangs and ominous hisses permeate the disc sounding like Krautrock meets the Clangers at times. Songs such as Going Down The Road Feeling Bad, Red River Valley and Tom Dooley are punched into submission. St. James Infirmary Blues is spoken like a beat poet suffering from a benzo famine and John The Revelator is full on biblical fury as the synthesized sounds beep and warble while there’s more biblical darkness on Job 17:11-17 with Dowd coming across like a Manson type prophesiser although the song morphs from its biblical origins into an electro funk invitation to a Friday night funky party.  Dowd’s reworkings of these songs are bizarre and challenging but  he’s  continuing in the tradition of others, taking the songs and adding his own distinctive twist. I challenge anyone not to listen to his take on My Darling Clementine without a smile appearing. Website

 – Original Article

Twinkle, Twinkle by Johnny Dowd

From TheSampler,Radio New Zealand 27 March 2018

Johnny Dowd sings a few family favourites – as you’ve never heard them before. Nick Bollinger wonders whether it was worth the risk.

Johnny Dowd

Johnny Dowd Photo: (c) Kat Dalton

Don’t look now, but I think we’ve got trouble. The folk club has just been invaded by a floor singer with a questionable sense of pitch, and I don’t know what that instrument is he’s holding but it don’t look like a banjo.

The singer is, in fact, Johnny Dowd, and he’s artist I’ve admired ever since his first record Wrong Side Of Memphis came out 20 years ago: a set of his own southern gothic ballads, delivered in a voice bordering on the tuneless and accompanying himself with a rough but effective guitar.

Twinkle, Twinkle

Twinkle, Twinkle Photo: supplied

The whole thing seemed risky, yet it worked, as though a character in a Tom Waits song had seized the means of production and made his own record. Dowd has kept making his own records – fifteen at last count – and kept taking risks. He’s flirted with different settings – including lounge jazz and, believe it or not, prog rock – but the music has always been imprinted with his dark, Bukowski-esque world view. Lately he’s been trying his hand at electronica. Oh, and folk songs.

‘Tom Dooley’, the murder ballad cheerfully popularised by the Kingston Trio, is a song Johnny Dowd might almost have written himself, and no one has ever made the narrator seem more convincingly psychopathic as he does during the spoken verses. But if that one sits quite comfortably in Dowd’s oeuvre, his ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’is truly disturbing, and it’s not the only time Dowd does serious violence to a song held by many to be sacred. He also has a crack at the popular 18th century hymn ‘Rock Of Ages’ that goes for hip-hop and the hymnal simultaneously and I’m not sure either survives.

It’s startling, absurd and ultimately a little exhausting.

Still, an artist who doesn’t take risks is less likely to fail but by the same token is only going to give you the same stuff over and over again. Dowd is a risk-taker, so it’s always different.

Twinkle, Twinkle takes a risk and doesn’t quite carry it off, which doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth attempting, or that this experiment hasn’t simply cleared the creative paths to make way for something extraordinary. I’ll be listening to Dowd’s next one anyway, just in case.

Twinkle, Twinkle is available on Mother Jinx

 – Original Article

Indebanvan reviews Twinkle Twinkle

 

JOHNNY DOWD-TWINKLE, TWINKLE

High fun factor

Making a cover album the umpteenth highlight in your impressive oeuvre. Johnny Dowd succeeds. It should be said that the performances on “Twinkle, Twinkle” are just as idiosyncratic as their own compositions.

EXECUTE AMERICAN FOLKLORE, AGAIN

The opening track ‘Execute American Folklore, Again’, which is completely out of hand, is related to the predecessor ” Execute American Folklore “. You would almost think that Dowd is still politically active in his old age.

FIGHT THE POWER

This previous album was strongly hip-hop oriented. There is no question on “Twinkle, Twinkle”. Although Johnny Dowd quotes Public Enemy (“Fight the power”) in the opening song. Vocally, the Bluesman appears old-fashioned with its cross-section of American traditionals. Although American …

The song to which the album title refers, ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’, is a poem by the English poet Jane Taylor on a French melody. (‘Ah! Vous dirai-you, maman’).

MELODIC HIGHLIGHT

Also ‘The Cuckoo’ has been adopted from England. It gets a solid beat from Johnny Dowd. That does not matter. Singer Anna Coogan manages to make it a melodic highlight.

‘Trouble In Mind’ (performed by Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone, among others), gets an Industrial approach from Johnny Dowd on which a synthesizer is also flogged.

FUNKY JOHNNY DOWD

‘Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad ‘(which we know from Woody Guthrie and The Grateful Dead) has never sounded as funky as it is now. Also ‘Red River Valley’, one of the Top 100 Western Songs, gets a funky treatment.

The Christian hymn ‘Rock of Ages’ is in the hands of Johnny Dowd completely of this time. ‘John the Revelator’, a primeval tone number, gets a respectful performance.

HIGH FUN FACTOR

On ‘House of the Rising Sun’ the hiphopper Johnny Dowd pops up again. Together with ‘Tom Dooley’ and ‘Oh, My Darling, Clementine’ it makes sure that “Twinkle, Twinkle” enters the books as the album from Johnny Dowd’s oeuvre with by far the highest fun factor.

An album on which even the darkest chapter in Job’s biblical book can result in a funky ode to the Friday.

“Twinkle, Twinkle” is available from January 12, 2018.

Johnny Dowd-Twinkle, Twinkle

Tracklist:
Execute American Folklore, Again
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
The Cuckoo
Trouble in Mind
Going Down the Road Feeling Bath
St. James Infirmary Blues
Red River Valley
Rock of Ages
John the Revelator
Tom Dooley
House of the Rising Sun
Oh, My Darling, Clementine
Job 17: 11-17

RELEASE DETAILS
Genre : Blues , Folk
Label : Mother Jinx Records
Country : USA
Format : CD
Date: January 12, 2018, 00:00

 – Translation by Google

 – Original article

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

damusic.be reviews The Dairy show

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 – Original Article

Execute American Folklore Tour – The Thunderbolt

TICKETS

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 – Original Article

 

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