Live @Quinn’s

– photo by Kat Dalton

Special Sunday Showcase: Johnny DOWD! wsg: Aging Womanizer

Tickets are $10 to see the legend himself, Johnny Dowd!
Stop by Quinn’s to reserve your ticket today!

“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)

http://www.johnnydowd.com/

Reflections on Johnny by Martin Bedford

Two of the best Johnny Dowd posters ever made.

And you can have one…

…from Martin Bedford

Johnny Dowd supporting My Darling Clementine @The Dock

– HCTF reviews Execute American Folklore

 

Live @ The Dock with My Darling Clementine


551bc-w704webclip_the-dockclementine

JOHNNY DOWD

Johnny Dowd (born March 29, 1948 in Fort Worth, Texas) is an American alternative country musician. Typical of his style are experimental, noisy breaks in his songs and strong gothic (in the sense of dark and gloomy) elements in the lyrics as well as in the music. There is also a strong undercurrent of black humor and the absurd in his work.

He currently resides in Ithaca, NY.

Although his early albums were most celebrated in the alternative country community, he has never quite fit into any particular genre.

The Dock: Tickets here

 

Bido Lito interviews Johnny Dowd – Live Show at Dumbulls

TICKETS

banner_bido-lito

 

interview_bido-lito

Executed American Outlaw

JOHNNY DOWD has been making records and touring since 1997. His latest album, Execute American Folklore was released last month. He plays Liverpool for the first time on 20th October at Dumbulls Gallery.

“I thought every record I made, with the exception of Wrong Side of Memphis, would be my ticket into the mainstream and big record sales. The fact that I have been wrong each time doesn’t discourage me.”

There are two types of “outsider artist”, those that make a decent living and get featured on film soundtracks, get a book written about them, maybe even survive on the outskirts of a major label (Daniel Johnston, Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits) and those that self-drive their rental car across Europe to play tiny gigs to a devoted following. Johnny Dowd is the latter. 15 or so releases into a career that started late (Dowd released his first CD in his late 40s) Dowd has flirted with flirting with mainstream success, been featured on the Americana documentary “Searching for the Wrong Eyed Jesus”, been selected by Matt Groening to play the New York edition of the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival and covered a range of styles from country and folk through to twisted electro-funk.

Joe Florek called him at his home in Ithaca, New York state where he writes, records and runs his home removals business. Just so you can imagine his replies, consider each reply in this interview as a slow, measured, southern drawl (he was born in Texas, grew up in Memphis and moved north in his teens) reminiscent of Harry Dean Stanton sat on a porch with William Burroughs.

Bido Lito!: With some artists, you don’t really know what they do. You assume they exist in some kind of artistic bubble, writing songs and waiting for their muse to turn up. With other bands, such as Steve Albini’s Shellac, for example, they are very open about their day jobs and the time and money it costs to be an artist these days. How do you balance those things?

Johnny Dowd: Musicians who do it the way I’m doing it, basically a full time job and then the music second is because they aren’t financially successful enough. I guess if I was more successful I wouldn’t have that story, I would just be on the road playing music and making money. Because you need money to live, you know? When you were younger, you could go out on the truck all day and then gig at night and it was never really a problem, you had a lot of energy. In terms of balance, it’s never been a problem. I don’t have to go away anywhere to write. I can put the phone down now and just switch off and write a song if I want to. I can write in the office if I’m not out on the truck, or at home. I guess I have a pretty fast on/off switch as far as that goes.

In terms of success, there was a time a few years ago I was getting pretty pissed off, thinking maybe I should be more successful. That’s how it works with my regular business, you know? If you do a good job, and then people tell you and they’ll call again and give you some more business. It’s not like that with the music business, totally different. There’s hundreds of bands out there that I’m better than who are way more famous, but also there are bands that are better than me that never got out of their living room. If you’re looking for justice, it’s not in the music business, you know.

 But I love making music, and it’s like fishing or sex or anything you like doing; it’s enjoyable in and of itself. So whether you’re playing to 4 people or 4,000 once you have the amps turned on and everything, and start up, it’s fine. It’s good. Just the money at the end of the night is different. It’s a bit less.

BL!: How many albums have you released, is this about 15?

JD: Well, Maybe ten or so regular albums, but also some live stuff and some collaborations on top of that. This year I have my new album, Execute American Folklore coming out and a double album of demos and live stuff with my first band from years ago, Neon Baptist and then I have this one, long 25 minute song that is influence by Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew or something. That might be ready for the tour. (Thinks) Maybe not. What date is it? No, that won’t be ready.

BL!: Does it have a name?

JD: It might be called the Back End of Spring or the Black End of Spring. I dunno. It’s instrumental, so I can call it anything. I could call it Your Mama, you know? It doesn’t have to be called anything related to the lyrics because it’s instrumental. I’ve had that title for a long time, I might save it for something else.

BL!: Do you write stuff differently now to how you wrote your first albums? Now you’re getting deeper into your career?

JD: I have changed a bit, I used to just do the traditional thing of sitting there with an acoustic guitar and working on a chord progression. Now I like to work with a drum machine, in a way because it’s more limited. I just get a beat going and then kind of freestyle over it. Not like freestyle rapping. But like blah, blah, blah, talking some lyrics over it until something comes. Or maybe I’ll have some lyrics lying around that will fit it. One thing about some people who maybe run dry when they get really old, some guys have been doing this since they were teenagers and by the time they get to 50 or 60, they’ve been writing for 40 years. But I only started when I was in my 40s, so although I’m 67 years old now, I’m only like……..20 in musical years so I still got plenty of ideas and songs, I reckon. My body is 67, but my musical mind is pretty young, it’s like the opposite of dog years. I haven’t exhausted the musical well.

BL!: Some of my favourite songs of yours are the story songs, where you’re getting one side of a conversation or a view of a character. You have a song, Betty, where you’re calling up an old girlfriend, asking for a leather jacket back that you gave here when you were kids. It’s like a less romantic version of Martha by Tom Waits.

JD: Well Martha is a great song. I used to like the whole thing back in the 60s, there would be comics like Shelley Berman or Bob Newhart and you’d only hear their side of the conversation for the whole routine, so you had to do a bit of work and imagine the other side. They were really funny, and I liked that kind of thing. I like some humour in my music, I like Nick cave and I get Nick Cave and Tom Waits a lot as comparisons but I like that there’s some humour in Tom Waits. No matter how dark the subject matter. And I listen to a lot of Hip-Hop , and there’s a lot of humour in that stuff too.

BL!: There’s another song called Big Wave, from one of your early albums that I used to be listen to a lot, it was on the cover of an Uncut CD about 15 years ago. It’s the story of a guy driving round West Virginia, miles from the ocean, but he still has a surfboard on his car and dreams of the big waves crashing down in Waikiki. That has a lot of dark humour in it. The image of this guy pulling up to the feed store in his truck with a surfboard on it.

JD: That’s it in a nutshell. That’s what I’m trying to do. No matter how weird or dark it is, there’s some humour in there too.

BL!: I saw on your Indiegogo campaign, you said “You people opened your hearts andopened your wallets” to raise $17,000 for the album and tour. You did that OK, but you sold a really beautiful old Hawaiian guitar. Was that a wrench or was it just something you wanted to lose so you could do the tour?

JD: Oh, I never learned to play that thing. So that wasn’t a problem in terms of being sad to sell it. I had it about 25 years and I always said I’d learn to play it and I never did. So I thought I’d let it go and help out a little on financing this tour. I always thought I’d learn to play jazz properly or learn to play like Son House or whatever, and then I thought I’m just going to concentrate on playing C, F, G in time.

BL!: You play a wide selection of styles, do you ever have to disappoint someone if they come up and ask for “first there was funeral” (from “….Wrong Eyed Jesus”) or some Americana stuff and then this new record has a lot of electro stuff on it, like an experimental version of Beck or something. Is that a pressure?

JD: Well, as far as this tour goes, I’ve got a drum machine and two other guitarists. So I’m going to play 4 or 5 songs of this album, some stuff off the other albums and then some stuff just me with a guitar, some of the folkier stuff, like “first there was a funeral”. So if you are a fan of any one particular era or style of Johnny Dowd, you should be happy. (long pause) Or I might not. I never have any fucking idea what I’m going to do, really (laughs). If anyone calls out a song, I’ll make a stab at it, But if it’s bad, it’s like “That’s your fault forshouting it out, I didn’t say I could do it”.



BL!: Obligatory Liverpool question, you grew up in the sixties, were the Beatles on your radar when you were young?

JD: Not really, to be honest, when they came out, later on I went back to them and I can appreciate the albums. But at the time, the first stuff, I didn’t think they were doing anything that the Everly Brothers weren’t doing better. I usually listen to more black music, RnB, James Brown, Otis Redding, Son House and these days the only new music I listen to is Hip-Hop, like Kendrick Lamar just came out with a bunch of great stuff. Some people might say well, I can’t hear anything like that in your music. But what I listen to and what I sound like are different. It’s all in there, somewhere.

BL!: How about writers? Harry Crews was in Wrong Eyed Jesus with you, and Big Wave reminded me of one of the deluded obsessives from Flannery O’Connor, both classic southern gothic writers. Are they anything of an influence?

JD: Oh yeah. I’ve read both authors extensively, that is at least as big as any musical influence on me, even as a kid, long before I was writing music, even, I was reading voraciously.

BL!: The venue you’re playing in Liverpool is famous for a Bob Dylan photoshoot, back in the 60s, I thought that might interest you.

JD: Well, I rate Dylan as a songwriter, definitely, so I’ll have to get my picture taken in the same place, and then play the show. Looking forward to seeing Liverpool. Sounds like a plan.

Johnny Dowd plays Dumbulls Gallery on 20th October with Park Doing and Dead Hedge Trio. Tickets in Probe and Dig! Vinyl or online here.

 – Original Article

 

Execute American Folklore Tour – The Thunderbolt

TICKETS

webclip_bannerthunderbolt

 

 

 

 

webclip_thunderbolt

 

 

 

 – Original Article

 

webclip_thunderboltbristol20161019

WrittenInMusic reviews Execute American Folklore

 

webclip_writteninmusic

 – Original Article

Johnny Dowd is sometimes in the same dingy alley musical signaled where Waits, Cave and then Captain Beefheart himself quit on quirky music built stories in which characters often figure in the society.

Dowd has meanwhile exceeded and the mark of 65, not afraid to experiment.This is evident from the impressive long list of players that he delivered since it dates from ’95 and originally released on cassette Wrong Side Of Memphis, he already approaching fifty. Dowd grew up in Texas, Memphis and Oklahoma and put the moving company Zolar Moving Company in Ithaca, New York, which job he combines with his music.

On his new LP takes its elderly beatbox a prominent place, together with the distorted parties on keyboards and guitar, Dowd responds personally, the result is erratic but danceable stuff on witness unease and Disease. The bizarre 3:29:48 (birthdate Dowd) recounts his or fictional life story. The patter on funky grafted Last Laugh he talks about his parents. Sexual Revolution is not a happy story.Moreover, he places himself with his cold patter and explicit, often absurd beyond the usual harmonic structures of alt country and Americana. In Mr. Muggles dives for the first time trusted partner Anna Coogan to play with high thin. Rhumba In The Park is just a light snack.

Titles like Whiskey Ate My Brain and Brains-a-Flame make the ominous expectations entirely true while the monotonous rhythm this effect strengthened with resounding slides and understated vocal contribution of Coogan. The repetitive scansion in the extracted through the wringer Execute American Folklore sound like a ruthless reckoning. And A World Without Me duet with Coogan sounds at times as onscure garage rock from the sixties.

We now know for some time that Johnny Dowd withdrawal is far outside the regular circuit, it almost creates its own niche. Moreover, the musical outlaw knows how to surprise each time with each new assignment.That’s no different with the come with the help of fundraising achieved Execute American Folklore, a quirky musical statement which expanded Dowd will propose at the European tour in October.

http://www.sedate-bookings.com/site/tourdates/

 – translation by Google

Live at The Rongo

webclip_rongo20161001

Johnny Dowd is packing heat this Saturday night at the Rongo, releasing not one, but TWO albums at the same time!  Johnny’s newest album, Execute American Folklore, has already seen it’s European release, but now he’s sharing it with all of his American friends, starting right here at the Rongo!  In addition to the new album, Johnny will also be releasing Neon Baptist Live, featuring live cuts from his first band, Neon Baptist.  You know it’s bound to get weird when Johnny comes around.

Special guest Park Doing will open the show at 9:30 p.m.  $7 cover at the door.

webclip_fbrongo

This is going to be a serious Party at The Rongo.

Don’t miss!

Webclip_rongo

Save

Johnny Dowd unveils new ‘Execute American Folklore’ CD

webclip_ij-header
JIM CATALANO, Correspondent

For the past 20 years, Johnny Dowd has been honing a unique style of music that draws from blues, country, folk, rock and gospel influences to create a backdrop for his distinctive lyrics delivered in his one-of-kind vocal style – a drawling mix of singing, talking and testifying.

S3ee86-w704aturday, Dowd will unveil his latest album, the 14-song “Execute American Folklore,” at CD release show at the Rongovian Embassy in Trumansburg. The Sex Robots, which includes Anna Coogan and Michael Edmondson on guitars and vocals, will accompany Dowd at the show.

 

Dowd recorded all of the instruments for the next album by himself at his studio in the office of Zolar Trucking, the moving company he has co-owned with Dave Hinkle since the mid-1970s

“There are a lot of drum machines, but it still sounds live, because I tracked all the instruments live,” Dowd explained. “I wouldn’t say there’s a lyrical theme to the album, but it’s lot more coherent musically from song to song. Most of them kick off with these hip-hop drum beats, so that holds it all together.”

Local engineer Matthew Saccuccimorano once again played a key role on the album, adding a variety of sounds in the mixing and mastering process.

“Matt has been instrumental in the last three records as far as crafting a coherent sound for each record,” Dowd said. “It’s been a real collaborative process. I did what I do, and he did what he does. I might make a change or two on his mix, but it’s very minimal.” Coogan also contributed vocals to a few songs, including the lead lines on “Brains-a-Flame.”

The album title can be taken in two ways, depending on how you define “execute” – something Dowd was perfectly aware of.

“The title came out of this bad review I got in this Dutch magazine,” he explained. “In the weird translation, it came out as at one point as ‘it’s almost like he’s trying to execute American folklore.’ When I saw that, I though it was a great phrase for an album. So I had the title before I wrote any songs, but I thought it was exactly what I was trying to do on the record.”

To support the new album, Dowd and his partner Kat Dalton launched an indiegogo campaign that raised more than $17,000. Supporters were able to procure a variety of perks such as album artwork, Dowd’s much-used drum machine, and Zolar Trucking t-shirts.

“We had no idea going into it what would happen, so I was really gratified,” Dowd said. “It definitely will keep me going as a musician for another year at least.”

Dowd, 68, was something of a late starter in his music career; indeed, he was in his late 40s when his breakthrough solo album “Wrong Side of Memphis” came out in 1997. The initial burst of critical acclaim, especially in Europe, has allowed him to keep going for the ensuing two decades, which has seen the release of more than a dozen albums and a few tours of Europe and the United States.

“That’s what helped to keep me fresh,” he said. “I’ve done all my developing in public. If you start at 15, you develop and get a thing going, and that’s your thing for the next 20 years. I was better known at the very beginning – at day one – than I am now. That (acclaim) was just something that happened, but it gave me a thing I’ve been able to maintain. It didn’t end up growing bigger and bigger, but it still gave me a basic thing that a lot of people don’t ever get.”

Saturday’s show, which is Dowd’s last before taking the Sex Robots on a three-week tour of Europe, also will serve as a release for the new two-CD “Neon Baptist Live,” a compilation of songs his former band recorded at are shows between 1990 and 1992. Find out more at http://www.johnnydowd.com.

Opening Saturday’s show is Park Doing, who also will be accompanying Dowd on much of his upcoming European tour. The longtime frontman of the Atomic Forces and Woody Guthrie Meets The Sun has developed a new solo act that includes lots of live looping on guitar and vocals as well as the occasional sampled sound. Visit his new website at http://www.parkdoing.org.

If You Go

Who: Johnny Dowd and the Sex Robots, with Park Doing opening

What: CD release show for “Explode American Folklore”

When: 9:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Rongovian Embassy, 1 W. Main St., Trumansburg

Tickets: Available at the door

 – Original Article

Johnny Dowd’s Musical Journey

 

webclip_ithaca-com

 

Johnny Dowd’s Musical Journey

  • By Bill Chaisson

Johnny Dowd found the title for his new album, Execute American Folklore, by accident. He ran Google Translate on what turned out to be a negative review in Dutch and found himself accused of “executing American folklore.” He was delighted.

“Finally someone has given me the phrase for what I’ve been doing for 25 years,” he said as he rolled a cigarette between sips of coffee on the steps of the former Felicia’s Atomic Lounge. “Well, OK, I’ve been doing it a little longer than that.”

Dowd famously came late to the life of a professional musician. He describes having an epiphany at age 35. The Army veteran was still living as if he was still 19 while watching his friends get married and buy houses. “I knew I didn’t want to do that,” he said, “but I was washing dishes for a living, and I knew I didn’t want to do that. And I thought, ‘Music; I’ve always loved music since I was 9 years old.’ I didn’t see anything about it that I couldn’t do. I knew musicians; they weren’t that smart. So I started the same way other people start when they’re 15, but way late. I’m only 30 in musical years.”

Although he claims to have no natural musical ability, in his mid-30s Dowd learned to play guitar and then he began writing songs. By many people’s estimate: awesome songs. His band Neon Baptist was one of the three bands to appear at the State Theatre in 1991 in a fundraiser that would inaugurate the Grassroots Festival. This past year Dowd released a double live CD of archival Neon Baptist shows.

His first solo album, The Wrong Side of Memphis, was released in 1998. “I got in at the top of the alt-country thing,” Dowd said. “Europe was paying crazy money; the big rock clubs were subsidized by the government back then. But now it’s just like the States.” Dowd doesn’t think his career would get off the ground if he were trying to start it now.

“[In the ‘90s] low-fi was big,” he said, “and my first record was unintentionally low-fi. I had it on cassette and played it for my friends. They said it was great, so I just put it in the mail, sent it out to the music magazines, and got all kinds of hits.” The copy he mailed to Billboard resulted in a positive review.

“I was super-lucky,” said Dowd. “There was like a two-month window. We went to South by Southwest and signed two record deals. It’s just been a slow decline from there. It’s what I’ve got on some other artists around here: it’s easier to go down.”

In terms of remuneration, you can’t argue with the man, but in terms of the music, fans of Dowd will undoubtedly disagree with his assessment. He has put out an average of about an album per year, and they have been restlessly exploratory. In addition to new collections of original music, he has turned out compilations, tributes, and live albums. And they are no longer low-fi.

Where once he sat down with an acoustic guitar, he now programs a drum machine and then adds all the rest. “Then I find some lyrics that I’ve already written or write some new ones,” he said. “It has become more of a hip-hop thing: words over beats. I find a beat that I like and a bass line, and then just build it out. I may try 10 or 15 permutations of a line before I get it right.”

Dowd has departed from his album per year average this year. In addition to Execute American Folklore, which was funded with an IndiGoGo campaign, and the Neon Baptist live release, he has recorded “a 30-minute instrumental, Bitches Brew type of thing. A friend in California is mixing it now. It should be ready by Christmas.”

Released first in Europe and available at johnnydowd.com, Execute American Folklore came out on Mother Jinx Records on Sept. 9 in the U.S. There will be a record-release party at the Rongovian Embassy on Saturday, Oct. 1. at 9 p.m. Jennie Stearns and Park Doing will open the show. • 

 – Original Article