One pit stop, a Sheetz lunch and an intimate view of the Alleghenies later,we arrived in Pittsburgh at Club Cafe. Dead on time, aka too early,
John and Mike said hello to
Gary,guitarist and old fiend…I mean friend…from Ithaca-Music
Capitol of the World.
John and Mike took advantage of the down time to go over the set.
Then it was time to rock…
And having the good fortune to be touring with Pere Ubu, watch them do the same.
Johnny says that the difference between an American rock star and a European rock star is you never see an American rock star combing his hair before a gig.
HAPPY HOUR at it’s most ironic
“Sometimes music shouldn’t be easy, and instead should be mysterious, idiosyncratic and the work of a true maverick. So we should welcome the arrival of a new Johnny Dowd album. . . . Never a man to run from the truth, if there was any justice, this guy would be a legend.”
— Acoustic Magazine (UK), September 2016
“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)
(Editors note: For those in the know, there’ll be a Party Here tonite!)
important announcement?—my record of public domain tunes is now recorded[for the second time-the first version was awful]—it will be called [i think] TWINKLE TWINKLE–it’s pretty wack in a folky kind of way—look for me at the grammies—hang down yer head tom dooley yo
– Johnny Dowd
Big news: I have some dates in November opening for one of my all-time favorite bands, Pere Ubu!
Ticket links on my Tours page here.
Also, my new record, “Twinkle, Twinkle,” is being mixed and will be released in December. I’m heading to Europe in January.
See you down the road.
Johnny Dowd: new album “Twinkle, Twinkle”
Johnny Dowd has finished recording an album with public domain tunes. It might be called Twinkle, Twinkle and will be released on his own label Mother Jinx Records:
Howdy all. I have finished tracking my new record, tentatively titled Twinkle, Twinkle. All the songs are in the public domain — “Tom Dooley,” “St. James Infirmary,” “Red River Valley,” “Rock of Ages” . . . you get the picture. It features Anna Coogan and Mike Edmondson on vocals. If you ever wondered what folk music would sound like in an electronic setting, this is it. I’ll release it on my own label, Mother Jinx Records. Not sure when. I’ll keep you posted.
HCTF review of Execute American Folklore.
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
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
Return of the Jimmies: Top 16 local CDs of 2016
– JIM CATALANO, SOUNDOFF
January 3rd, 2017
Before we say goodbye to 2016, it’s time for me to announce the winners of my annual Soundoff awards, nicknamed “The Jimmies.”
I’ve been covering the Ithaca music scene since 1992, and I started doing these awards in 1994 to recognize the many talented people who make music in the area.
There were more than 40 CDs and EPs released locally in the past year, and while I didn’t get to every one of them, I did manage to listen to just about all of the ones that came out by mid-December.
As has been the case since 1994 (except for 2009, when the Jimmies were on hiatus), these award choices are entirely subjective. The winners receive absolutely nothing except a handshake and a “way to go” next time I see them around town.
The envelopes, please …
3) Johnny Dowd, “Execute American Folklore”: A strong follow-up to last year’s “That’s Your Wife on the Back of My Horse,” this album showcased Dowd’s continuing ability to blend electronic and organic musical elements to create appropriate backdrops for his distinctive vocals.
By Paul Tarpey
If you haven’t seen it before the USA is about twenty or so scattered clutches of tall buildings mapping out endless desert. But somewhere in this landscape there is space for madness to hide. Johnny Dowd is a Griot for these spaces. I’ve seen his type before. I saw Randy Newman at the end of the 70s. I saw Kinky Friedman in the early 90s. A quick check on the calendar has shown it’s time for more of this. Your comparisons for Dowd will be different so there is no point me telling you why mine are the right ones. We can discuss it after you have been to see him.
New York singer songwriter Johnny Dowd is arriving in Liverpool on October 20th to play Howl At The Moon at the perfect Dumb Bulls in Dublin Street. He isn’t as well-known as most of the comparisons but he may well be one day so go fuck yourself if you missed your chance to see him in his natural habitat.
His stuff is generally listed as a kind of Americana but the music is really just there to punch his fables deep into your spleen. And he’ll use whatever weapon is at hand. The man himself (spoiler alert) has suggested that his song Betty will give you some kind of an idea. I won’t argue with that although you might want to try Sexual Revolution from his new album Execute American Folklore as well to sample the ragged guitar and beats shrouding his deadpan dark humour. He is a man of over sixty years but that time hasn’t been spent obsessing on the music biz. You will hear real life and you’ll shudder at the recognition. It really would be an absolute bastard of an event to skip.
Tickets are available from Probe Records or here ents24.com/liverpool-events/dumbulls/johnny-dowd/4752097
If you want to know where the glorious Dumb Bulls is then follow this link. And read this exclusively exclusive interview: postmusicshow.blogspot.co.uk/p/drop-dumbulls.html
What should fans expect from the new album?
Tuff beats/honest lyrics. If u don’t like one song don’t give up, the next song will be in a somewhat different style. It’s a good record to drive around in yer car and and drink beer or get high. Like they used to say on AMERICAN BANDSTAND, it’s got a good beat and u can dance to it.
What was the process it took to fund it?
My wife, Kat Dalton, set me up with and ran an indiegogo campaign. People responded. They opened up their hearts and their wallets.
How does he feel about his songs being labelled as ‘uncategorisable’?
Fine with me, a great compliment. I understand why someone would dislike my music, it makes them uncomfortable. It’s a mix of ingredients that don’t seem to go together, like marshmallows and Mexican food. Possibly people that dig my tunes enter into the same space/ time continuum where/when the music was created, I guess you’d have ask a “fan”.
I grew up in the 50”s and 60”s in a small town in Oklahoma, Paul’s Valley, I haven’t changed much since then.
His lyrics could stand alone. Has this opened up other areas of writing?
I could never write a novel. I’ve written poems but they are the same as my lyrics. I guess they could be thought of as story poems—poems to read aloud in bar full of drunk people. I can write more complex lyrics because I am unencumbered by melodic restrictions. I can’t sing.
Does humour always emerge from the stories or does he just want to make people laugh?
Absolutely both. Probably more than the shared space/time continuum as far as why someone would like my music is a shared sense of humor. I do love to make people laugh. At some point I would like to put a stand-up routine together. I do have one joke ready for this tour about a man with a large orange head.
What does he regard as absurd about performing and about life?
I’m always amazed just before I go on stage that I am about to do something and people have paid to see it. Life/death, u could call it absurd or u could call yer momma. In the end of the it won’t matter.
How does becoming a solo artist at a later age reflect in his music and the reaction to it?
I’m not sure I really started at a later age. I was 16 emotionally.
[alternate answer) I had a buttload of experience to draw on. Reaction to the music? u would know better than I. That’s one of great things about music. Age is irrelevant. In a marketing sense it’s a mixed blessing. I’ve never really thought of myself as a solo artist, my focus has been on being a good band leader.
How has performing changed over the years?
I enjoy performing more than ever. Before I hit the stage I say to myself and to my band members “let’s have some fun.” And we always do.
If he could pick one moment of serendipity that meant his music reached a larger audience, what would it be?
When I made the cover of Rolling Stone
How would it feel to be much more widely appreciated after he has gone?
Honestly I don’t really care but I would love to be more widely appreciated NOW
If he could tell the people of Liverpool to listen to one of his songs before coming along to the Liverpool gig what would it be?
Another tuff question? I’m going to assume u are familiar with my music so I’ll let u answer that. The song BETTY off my record NO REGRETS might be a place to start.
If he could tell them to read or listen to anything else what would it be?
Captain Beefheart/link wray/sun ra/james carr/sinatra
jim thompson/bible/william trevor/harry crews.
What are his expectations of a Liverpool audience?
Lots of pints being drunk and a request to do a Beatles tune.
Johnny Dowd is an American alternative country musician from Ithaca, New York. Typical of his style are experimental, noisy breaks in his songs and strong southern gothic 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.
Although his early albums were most celebrated in the alternative country community, he has never quite fit into any particular genre. As a singer-songwriter, his music is most often compared to that of Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Captain Beefheart.
In 2001 I pulled a CD off the front of a magazine expecting the usual wash of corporate indie and limp Americana. Instead there was a track called Big Wave by Johnny Dowd.
It sounded like something from another planet: Theremin style keyboard, surf guitar, tribal drums and a croaked lyrical tale worthy of Flannery O’Connor, of a man driving round a
dusty midwestern town with a surfboard strapped to the roof. Never leaving. A thousand miles from the ocean, but still defiant:
“I don’t care what they say in this one horse town/cos they ain’t ever surfed waikiki, when the big wave comes crashing down”
Expanding his horizons from the Alt Country pallete, his later work includes dirty keyboard grooves and twisted drum machines to go with the darker than black lyrical humour.
15 years after being entranced by that song, I have the chance to put on a gig by one of music’s true originals. You can be two types of “outsider artist”. The type people know about like Daniel Johnson or Tom Waits, or the type that still drives their own car across Europe to play at a tiny venue in the docklands of Liverpool.
Johnny Dowd is the latter, and this will be an extremely special gig. Don’t miss it.
Tickets online and from Probe records and Dig! Vinyl
Appearance in documentary: Searching for the Wrong Eyed Jesus
Videos and info
Local Support added:
Dead Hedge Trio
Medicine Stu+Blues Steve
What does alt country mean to you? The term’s largely redolent of breezey Americana types like Whiskeytown, Uncle Tupelo and The Old 97s, but at the weirder end of the scale are the likes of Johnny Dowd. The 68-year-old’s music draws from the same well as the aforementioned trio, albeit with gothic undercurrents, chaotic discordancy, minimalist electronic pulses and an idiosyncratically dark sense of humour. This rare visit to Liverpool represents an unmissable chance to catch a maverick who’s pursued his own unique vision since the 70s: we strongly advise you to take it.
DROP the Dumbulls, 8pm, £8
Johnny Dowd: Execute American Folklore
Most people mellow with age, but thankfully Johnny Dowd isn’t one of them. His snarl is very much intact and the beats he gets from his vintage gear are harsh and ugly. Besides Anna Coogan, who helped out with some vocals, he is the sole musician on his new album Execute American Folklore, playing guitar, bass and keyboards, and he is adamant on getting even with everyone who gets in his way.
In Sexual Revolution the protagonist caught his wife in flagrante, urging him to repeat “d.iv.o.r.c.e” over and over again. Mr. Muggles is the lead character in his darkest dance tune to date, with brass and female vocals going berserk. Rhumba In The Park and Modern Woman sound like outtakes of his No Regrets album on which song described the ways of a particular woman. Anna Coogan gets her place in the spotlights singing lead on Brains-a-flame, channeling Poly Styrene.
So whatever happened to the left-field country artist of yore? That guy left the building a couple of albums ago. Dowd has embraced technology or more accurately is stretching it to its outer capabilities, banging his gear into submission and messing with preprogrammed presets in peculiar ways. He is more of a wrestler than a player. Title track Execute American Folklore is heavily distorted call to arms for a revolution that will never happen, but at least there is anthem just in case.
With the album’s closer A World Without Me, an old school guitar rocker, he shows his sense of humour and puts things in perspective. A world without him would be same. That may be so within the grand scheme of things, but as long as he is walking the face of the earth, touring and releasing albums, it is a slightly better and weirder place.
GF is an independent multi-platform music and arts festival to celebrate and empower women-identified artists
Dit is dus geen weblog, maar een wegwijzer
The Official Blog Of WKDU Philadelphia 91.7 FM
An Artist's Journey
Cutting through the fat of this world
The Bones of Ohio Join the Naked to the Dead in a Cement Mixer of a Marriage Bed
official site for recording artist... Michael Stark
Musings on music and anything else
like thalassic velvet
the wonderings of a zig-zag wanderer
Honest Reviews for local and small-time/indie artists
A Glasgow view of Americana and related music and writings.
Local Food, Drink, Music & Spirit
A Blog about Music and Popular Culture
Random Thoughts I think