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.

Live @ The Dock Sat. 2/17 8pm

AND a guitarist named Mike !

 – Facebook Event

Johnny Dowd will celebrate the release of his new record Twinkle, Twinkle (out on January 12th) with a belated hometown show @ The Dock in Ithaca, NY on February 17th. Full band show with Michael Edmondson, Brian Wilson, Michael Stark, Kim Sherwood Caso, and Anna Coogan, with Tzar as the support act. The album is a collection of radically rearranged public domain songs. He has put up a stream of Red River Valley on his website

 – Original article



Live @Local 506

Johnny Dowd

Melissa Swingle Duo

Ben de la Cour

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm


Facebook Event

Johnny Dowd, one of a kind leftfield trashcan Americana artist, has a show at Local 506 in Chapel Hill, NC on June 14th.

HCTF review of Execute American Folklore.

 – Original Article

Execute American Folklore Tour – Edgemoor Hotel


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– Original Article

On tour from the USA, the amazing Johnny Dowd band (including Anna Coogan and Mike Edmondson) with support from Park Doing – the Edgemoor Hotel, Haytor Road, Bovey Tracey TQ13 9LE – Doors – starts 8.00pm – Tickets £15.00. More information and tickets on website

Johnny’s latest album “Execute American Folklore” has just been released to critical acclaim. “There’s intense and there’s Johnny Dowd. He’s Nick Cave with a hangover. Hank’s lonesome whistle spat through Waits’s grinder, with Beefheart on the side.” – Peter Watts, Time Out. You will not get a better chance to experience authentic, courageous, contemporary American music here on our doorstep. We guarantee an unforgettable evening of gothic, junkyard Americana.

Johnny’s first national exposure in the UK came in 2003 in the beautiful, illuminating and highly recommended BBC Arena documentary ‘Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus’, a musical and sociological road trip through the ‘poor white’ southern states. It’s free to view on iPlayer

A really big thank you to you all for enabling us to bring exciting world-class talent to our doorstep.

 – Photos thanks to Matthew North as posted on Facebook


Neon Baptist Reviews from The Day

Double CD release party at The Rongo 10/1 9pm:


Execute American Folklore



Neon Baptist






– Photo by Kat Dalton



Merry Christmas from Johnny Dowd


Webclip_JIngle Bells

Download Jingle Bells here , and don’t forget to vote for That’s Your Wife on the Back of My Horse!


Live at the ABC Cafe Reunion and school nutrition benefit

Poster_Lot10,ABCReunionFormer ABC staff revive the old menu for one day only to benefit school food projects featuring DJs, live music and all your favorite ABC characters!

Here is the entertainment line up!
ABC Cafe Reunion Musicians and DJ’s

DJ’s Downtairs

415pm Michael Judah Miller
500pm Michael Judah Miller
600pm Michael Judah Miller
700pm WVBR’s Rockin’ Remnants DJ John Simon
800pm DJ HaMEEN Ben Ortiz
900pm DJ HaMEEN Ben Ortiz
1000pm Stereo Ark Sound System Leon Arguello
1100pm DJ JD Josh Dolan

Performers Upstairs

415pm Neal Massa
545pm Pedro Arroyo and David Clare Besag
630pm Arthur B and the Planetary Mix
715pm Johnny Dowd
800pm Shaka
845pm David Clare Besag Solo
930pm ROAD MAN Jon Petronzio
1015pm Ken Hallett
1100pm Park Doing

Over the past few years gardening and nutrition programs have begun to take off at our local schools. This event will help two of the local schools, Beverly J. Martin Elementary in Ithaca and Newfield Central Schools support continuing nutrition education, BJMs trailblazing Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Snack Program and a snack program pilot at Newfield. In addition, funds will support gardens and weekly in-school gardening activities at both schools. Not only do these programs benefit students, but they also have a big impact on the community as exemplified by the 350 lbs. of fresh organic produce grown at Newfield School and donated to the local food pantry!


Black Elastic 2008


 – photo by Aimee Dars Ellis

Brightspark Electric Folk Festival Swamp Ride


The Heavy Hitters arrive


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What happens when the power goes out? It unfetters the band.

 – The Tin teardrops, photos by Pete Wolfganger


Johnny Sez: On performing live


“There are two possible options for how the gig went:

One – it was fun.
Two – it wasn’t fun.”

– Johnny Dowd 2015

Justin, John, Kim and Brian

Justin, John, Kim and Brian


Mekons Tour Round Two: Portsmouth

Waiting to go on at the 3S Art Space. Ain’t they cute?

3S Artspace also had a very nice green room, and The Mekons did not fall off the stage at any point.

Actually taken during sound check, but you get the idea:

Mekons rocking the Space:


“The Mekons are a band that can make you laugh, then they can tear your head off, so at the end of the night, you’ll be a laughing corpse.  

                                                                             – Johnny Dowd,2015 Mekons tour

After hours party of friends:

Johnny: I’ll stand up so you can admire my shirt.

Audience: Nice shirt!

Johnny: Yeah. One of the Mekons described it as sort of like a disco pirate shirt. And that’s a place I’m comfortable being. What do you think,ladies? Not bad,eh?

Audience: General cat calls.

Johnny: (laughs) That’s the thing.. When you get old, you can say just stupid shit. It’s like being a little baby, a little baby that’s shit their pants. ‘OOOh, it’s so cute.’ Same thing when you get old. Thank God.