The Falcon and a Secret Show by the skin of their teeth

 

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.

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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!

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(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!:

 

 

Grassroots 2006 review by Luminous Dash

JOHNNY DOWD – Live At Grassroots 2006 (Mother Jinx Records)

By

Kris Verdonck

Johnny Dowd, de Jack the Ripper van de americana dook in zijn kelder en vond de tapes terug van het Grassroots-festival waar hij in 2006 met een vierkoppige band optrad. Eerlijkheidshalve denken we niet dat de zon toen scheen op die middag. In Dowd-City sterven de goeden te vroeg, blijven de mirakels achterwege, klopt de dood aan op Kerstavond en vervoert Elvis’ Mystery Train een kist.

Als een dobberman uit de hel bijt hij ons in het been, om ons pas drie kwartier later los te laten. Het viertal is goed op dreef, met drum/baspedaalwizzard Willie B. (aka Brian Wilson), Michael Stark op keys en Kim Sherwood-Caso op backings. Muzikaal gaat het de richting uit van overstuurde country en uitgeklede bluespunk, geflipte James Brown-funk en dronken walsen.

Afsluiten doet Dowd met God Created Woman: “Meet me in the parking lot, up on level three. There’s something I must show you.” We zouden niet durven instappen bij deze nonkel Van Grauwel.

 – Original Article

Johnny Dowd, the Jack the Ripper of the americana dived into his basement and found the tapes of the Grassroots festival where he performed with a four-member band in 2006. To be honest, we don’t think the sun was shining that afternoon. In Dowd-City the good ones die prematurely, the miracles are omitted, death is knocked on Christmas Eve and Elvis’ Mystery Train carries a coffin.

Like a bobber man from hell, he bites us in the leg, only to let us go 45 minutes later. The foursome is doing well, with drum / bass pedal wizzard Willie B. (aka Brian Wilson), Michael Stark on keys and Kim Sherwood-Caso on backings. Musically it goes in the direction of upset country and stripped down blues punk, flipped James Brown funk and drunken waltzes.

Dowd closes with God Created Woman: “Meet me in the parking lot, up on level three. There is something I must show you. ” We would not dare to board at this uncle Van Grauwel.

– Translation by Google

Americana Highways reviews Family Picnic

 

Johnny Dowd’s “Family Picnic”

August 28, 2019 H. R. Gertner

Zoom in close to a rose bush and all you see is thorns. Although twisted and hidden beauty still exists within the plant. Welcome to the music of Johnny Dowd in all its thorny beauty. For over thirty years Dowd has been taken the unexpected path, an iconoclast with few mates.

Family Picnic, Dowd’s 2019 release, out on Mother Jinx Records finds Johnny tilling the soil of unrequited love, murder, and characters struggling to live a twisted American dream. As Dowd sings album closer Thomas Dorsey, “I sing songs of lust and depravity, that’s the only kind of songs come out of me.” Electronic beats, keyboard flourish, and what Johnny deems “ice-cream chords” drive a record composed of waltzes, shuffles, and boom-chuck rhythms. Dowd shifts between his bent-but-not-broke singing voice and a spoken word approach that succeeds where lesser artist would be chastised for “trying to rap.”

The instrumental “Hoodoo” preps the listener for an unusual experience as electronic beats, carny organ, and electric guitar collide with a xylorimba. Dowd leans on reliable past collaborators on this release including Michael Edmondson (backing vocals, guitar, xylorimba) and Kim Sherwood-Caso (backing vocals), while he covers vocal, guitar, and keyboard duties himself.

“The Man of Your Dreams” follows, “I’m not the man of your dreams, that is obvious to all,” Dowd sings. “If you must go, go slowly,” he duets with Kim Sherwood-Caso. The two voices grate against one another initially, but like sandpaper they smooth and blend together, hypnotizing your ears. Vicksburg dives into a world that, “was live by the sword, die by the gun.”

Dark tales abound on much of the record; the darkness deepens in the loneliness of “Walking the Floor,” “people around me are so computerized, I see the fear in their eyes, I look at them, they look away, it’s just another horrible day”, he continues, “I’m sad and lonely, nervous and depressed, my life without you is a big f*%#ing mess.”

Family Picnic is a survey of characters that would be at home in a Harry Crews or Larry Brown novel. Four Gray Walls dark um-pa-pa like folk polka dirge is almost fun until the lyrical punch lands, “a doctor can fix a damaged heart, replace what’s been broken with artificial parts, but the damage you cause only God can repair, whether I live or die I no longer care.”

Before the record risks becoming too depressing, a goofiness slips into the mix on Conway Twitty. “I wanna make some noise, I don’t want no peace and quiet, I’m here tonight to start a mother f#$*ing riot, I love the bright lights of New York City and I want to be a star like Conway Twitty,” Dowd sings. Let’s Have a Party keeps the party going with 80’s era keyboard driven electronic beats and synthesized tones while Dowd sings, “let’s have a party, just you and me, weekend is here, now I’m free…life is so hard, working class, work week is long, money don’t last.”

While songs about longing, loneliness, missteps, and murder are nothing new to the Americana songbook or Johnny Dowd’s work, Dowd continually reinvents his approach to these topics in a way that finds renewed energy and purpose. http://www.johnnydowd.com

 – Original Article

Family Picnic review by Festivalinfo.nl

Recensie Johnny Dowd : Family Picnic

Al ruim dertig jaar behoort Johnny Dowd tot de gevestigde orde van de rootsmuziek, van de alternatieve country of dat wat wij tegenwoordig beter kennen als Americana. Maar ondanks de prachtige loftuitingen die er zoal over hem zijn geschreven, heeft Dowd nog nooit een groot publiek voor zijn muziek weten te bereiken. Niet vreemd als je bedenkt dat de eigenzinnige muzikant er werkelijk alles aan doet om maar niet de reeds geplaveide wegen te bewandelen. Geniale maar dikwijls bizarre spitsvondigheden en wereldvreemde avonturen in tekst en muziek maken het de luisteraars nu niet gemakkelijk. Vooral op het vorig jaar verschenen Twinkle, Twinkle leek Dowd behoorlijk de weg kwijt te zijn. Al eerder werden door hem de scherpe randjes en de viezige kantjes van de rootsmuziek opgezocht. Dat de drank en drugs daarbij een rol speelden lijkt waarschijnlijk. De vertroebelde blik maakte zijn muziek en zijn teksten echter echter altijd fascinerend. Om de sfeer te optimaliseren zocht hij regelmatig een inspirerende omgeving op. Zo begon hij ooit met schrijven in het kantoor van zijn verhuisbedrijfje, maar maakte hij later ook eens gebruik van een studio waarvan de muren volledig waren voorzien van overlijdensberichten. Maffe onderwerpen en thema’s als ‘moord’, ‘dood’ en ook de trieste kanten van de liefde werden altijd al graag bezongen door de ooit in Texas geboren, maar tegenwoordig in New York woonachtige muzikant. Wie dacht dat Dowd zijn wilde haren inmiddels wel kwijt zou zijn geraakt in de loop van de tijd, en zo’n vijftien studioalbums later, komt bedrogen uit.

Op het eerder dit jaar verschenen Family Picnic horen we hem namelijk weer op de zijn zo bekende zwartgallige wijze. Na eerst de luisteraar op het verkeerde been te hebben gezet met de vreemde instrumentale opener ‘Hoodoo’, volgt een even zo merkwaardige wals, waarin Johnny stoeit met distortion en andere gruizige tonen die je uit een elektrische gitaar kunt toveren. ”I was never the man of your dreams” klinkt het vals, maar zeer gemeend gezongen. In het donkere ‘Vicksburg’ lijkt het zelfs of Tom Waits tijdens het opnemen de studio is komen binnensluipen. De Amerikaanse Burgeroorlog wordt hier op wel heel bijzondere wijze beschreven. Angstaanjagend is het, zonder enige remming. Het is typerend voor Dowd waarvan je je nauwelijks kunt voorstellen dat hij inmiddels de zeventig jaar is gepasseerd. Met puntig gitaarwerk en elektronische beats rapt hij zich door ‘Shameless’ en begeeft hij zich tijdens ‘Walking The Floor’ in een vreemde duistere wereld. Met vocale hulp van Kim Sherwood-Caso en ondersteund door Michael Edmondson op gitaar en xylorimba, een bijzonder slaginstrument, neemt Dowd de luisteraar mee in normale, alledaagse gebeurtenissen zoals een familie-picknick, maar is niets zoals het lijkt dat het is. Vrijwel alles ontaardt in een surrealistische toestand en lijkt genialiteit en waanzin heel nauw met elkaar verwant. Hartstochtelijk gezongen is de lieve ode aan gospelzanger Thomas Dorsey door Dowd die, hoe tegenstrijdig ook, zich altijd voornamelijk met Duivelse muziek heeft ingelaten. Ondanks de goede bedoelingen klinkt ‘Let’s Have A Party’ weliswaar uitnodigend, maar wij slaan deze uitnodiging liever af en genieten op afstand van de muzikale capriolen van deze bijzondere veteraan op deze zeer interessante Family Picnic.

Recensent:Jeroen Bakker      Artiest:Johnny Dowd        Label:Mother Jinx Records
                                                                                   – Original Article

 

For more than thirty years, Johnny Dowd has been part of the established order of roots music, of the alternative country or what we now know better as Americana. But despite the wonderful lofting that has been written about him, Dowd has never managed to reach a large audience for his music. Not surprising when you consider that the idiosyncratic musician really does everything he can to not walk the paved roads. Ingenious, but often bizarre, quirks and worldly adventures in text and music do not make it easy for listeners. Especially on the last year, Twinkle, Twinkle Dowd seemed to be pretty lost. Earlier, he looked up the sharp edges and the filthy edges of the roots music. It seems likely that alcohol and drinks played a role in this. However, the blurred look always made his music and lyrics fascinating. To optimize the atmosphere, he regularly sought out an inspiring environment. For example, he once started writing in the office of his removal company, but later he also used a studio whose walls were completely covered with obituaries. Stupid subjects and themes such as ‘murder’, ‘death’ and also the sad sides of love have always been liked by the musician who was once born in Texas, but now lives in New York.On the Family Picnic , which was published earlier this year, we can hear it again in its well-known black-and-white manner. After having misled the listener with the strange instrumental opener ‘Hoodoo’, an equally remarkable waltz follows, in which Johnny plays with distortion and other gritty tones that you can conjure from an electric guitar. “I was never the man of your dreams”it sounds fake, but sincerely sung. In the dark ‘Vicksburg’ it even seems as if Tom Waits came sneaking into the studio during the recording. The American Civil War is described here in a very special way. It is frightening, without any inhibition. It is typical of Dowd that you can hardly imagine that he has now passed the seventy years. With pointed guitar work and electronic beats, he raps through ‘Shameless’ and enters a strange dark world during ‘Walking The Floor’. With vocal help from Kim Sherwood-Caso and supported by Michael Edmondson on guitar and xylorimba, a special percussion instrument, Dowd takes the listener into normal, everyday events such as a family picnic, but is nothing as it seems. Almost everything degenerates into a surrealistic situation and genius and madness seem very closely related. Sung passionately is the sweet ode to gospel singer Thomas Dorsey by Dowd, who, however contradictory, has always been mainly involved with Devil’s music. Despite the good intentions, ‘Let’s Have A Party’ sounds inviting, but we prefer to decline this invitation and enjoy the musical antics of this special veteran from a very interesting distance.Family Picnic .
                                                                        – Translation by Google
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