John Doe with Jesse Dayton at The Triple Door – Seattle 6/19/15
I was in junior high when John Doe’s punk band X started picking up speed. I remember a vague mention of X in high school, maybe a song or two, but they disappeared out of my radar completely as I headed for college. Seattle, although it tries to be trendy, forgot to send me the memo. They slipped right by me, along with The Fleshtones. Also, I tend to get stuck on one artist every few years and miss all the contemporaries. Musical poverty. Musical ignorance.
A John Doe Virgin.
I missed out on John Doe as a solo artist, too, until a musician friend posted some lyrics on his Facebook page:
you are the hole in my head / I am the pain in your neck / you are the lump in my throat / I am the aching in your heart
I looked up the lyrics, which led me to “Golden State” a track on the album, A Year In The Wilderness by John Doe. Thee John Doe.
I purchased A Year In The Wilderness. It didn’t leave the CD player of my car for a solid month. I fell in musical love. How did I miss him all these years? The tone of his voice, the lyrics, and the Americana style of the melodies really hits my sweet spot. I checked his website for tour dates. He mostly stays in California these days, but makes a few trips up north every year. Its seemed like every time he was up here, we were going to another show or were out of town.
Finally, this June, I was able to purchase tickets to The Triple Door, a swanky dinner theater in downtown Seattle. I secured a photo pass for my son Jacob that night, courtesy of Doe’s manager, promising to write a show review for No Depression. I was thrilled. Pat had to miss it, but at least Jacob would be there with me to enjoy the night.
After surviving terrible Friday rush-hour traffic and quickly eating before the show, Jacob and I settled in to Booth 13. The six-person booth comfortably seats four. Jacob’s shoulders alone take two spots. We were all pins and needles waiting for the show to begin. I was a proud mama watching my son, with his press pass proudly displayed on his shirt, adjust his camera settings to prepare for the shoot.
Finally, at 8:00, the lights dimmed and Jacob took his position across the theater and I readied my pen and journal, crushed between the other booth guests. I was pleasantly surprised to see several guitars, drum kit and upright bass on stage. I thought it was going to be an acoustic show, for some reason.
On with the show (the following is a copy of my post on No Depression):
John Doe Reigns at The Triple Door
John Doe brought his punk energy and some Texas twang to The Triple Door in Seattle. Doe is in the middle of a short tour to promote The Best of John Doe This Far, his multi-decade collection of greatest hits. The genre-bending performance entertained and engaged the audience from start to finish.
Opening for John this night was Austin’s Jesse Dayton, who, like Doe, is a bit of a renaissance man. He’s a top-notch session guitarist (he played on Waylon Jennings’ last two albums), a stage and screen actor, producer, zombie movie star and soundtrack artist, screenwriter and film maker (ZOMBEX), raconteur and comedian.
Dayton, who played a dark and dirty Gretsch guitar, was accompanied by Chris Rhoades on doghouse and electric bass, and Eric C. Hughes on drums. The three boys let ‘er rip with some rollicking alt-country and Americana tunes with humor and big Texas style.
Jesse was “brangin’ it” (his motto) with a screamin’ rockabilly solo on the first song, “Daddy Was a Badass” and a slappin’ bass beat. In a faux bravado move, Jesse held his hand up to his ear and begged the audience to make some noise for him. The crowd whooped and clapped heartily.
He said he was from a parallel universe called East Texas, and dedicated the song, “We Can’t Help The Way That We Are” to Waylon Jennings.
“Beautiful Thing” is a song about the creole woman from Louisiana who helped raise Dayton. When he was a boy, they spent the weekdays listening to blues artists like Lightnin’ Hopkins. On Sundays, she only allowed gospel music. “She was my best buddy,” he said. He played a soulful acoustic slide with a nod to his favorite blues guitarists. One lyric in the heartwarming ballad really stood out: The Funeral was black and white / but our tears were all the same
Not wanting to get too sentimental, Jesse kicked it up a notch and quipped, “It’s all drinkin’ and cheatin’ songs from here on out!” Sticking to his word, he introduced the next tune, “I’m At Home Getting Hammered While She’s Out Getting Nailed”, by proudly exclaiming that it has “two whopping chords in the whole song, and no bridge or chorus”.
After a few more tunes, he joked, “I hope we passed the audition tonight.” His last song was dedicated to Eddie Spaghetti of Supersuckers. Jesse first told a story regarding the beautiful time he had traveling with Eddie on tour and stopping at a Love’s Truck Stop for some duct tape. Eddie wanted to purchase some chrome girly mud flaps for his garage wall, too. In a “Shakespearean white trash epiphany,” Jesse promptly went back to his car and wrote a song called “Arkansas Chrome (Duct Tape Song)”.
John Doe is a singer / songwriter with almost four decades of songs to his name. He’s an actor (with a long list of credits), a poet, a teacher, a horseman, and punk royalty. Doe is most recognized as the bass player and vocalist with the renowned L.A. punk band X with Exene Cervenka. He was also with The Sadies, The Knitters, and participated in other collaborations.
The talented and beautiful songstress Cindy Wasserman from Dead Rock West joined Doe on vocals this night. He facetiously introduced her as the meanest woman in rock ‘n’ roll. Cindy’s harmonies blend perfectly with his clean and controlled vocals. The tone of his voice is still so powerful; he can hold a note and take it for a ride into the stratosphere.
Doe played an eclectic set, mixing X songs with his solo projects and included a few covers. Singing from the heart on moody ballads, he also balanced out the tone with politically-fueled rants and up-tempo rockers. With Jesse Dayton’s band backing him, it was high-energy rock show overall, but infused with Americana, country, roots, and blues–crossing genres without apology.
John dove into the set with “This Far” from 2002’s Dim Stars, Bright Sky , featured in his latest collection.
One of his old friends was in the audience this night. He introduced “Handsome Devil” from Keeper and warned the audience to never let a friend of a friend spend a couple of nights, because bad things might ensue. The foreboding lyrics explain:
here comes a stranger
a friend of a friend
knocking on our door
sliding it open
he talks the blues, so do you
this ring is getting tighter
my finger is falling off
this changes everything
he stole your wedding ring
this changes everything
he walked right in, sat right down
baby let your mind roll on
& roll right outta town
where’s my gun?
oh that’s right, I don’t have one
so devilishly handsome
should of known he was actually Satan
this changes everything
Another song of betrayal, “Burning House of Love” from X’s Ain’t Love Grand included Rhoades, back on upright bass, and an explosive solo by Dayton.
“The best life lesson is to hold the reigns firmly, but lightly…” Doe states in the video. He also kept the audience firmly but lightly in his grasp. He offset any angry rants with humorous anecdotes, backstory, and friendly banter with the band and the crowd. During a mishap (Jesse broke the bridge of his guitar and had to swap out with one of John’s and quickly tune it) which involved some quiet talk and scrambling around on stage, Doe stepped back up to the mic and said, “Sorry, we were just up here talking about the basketball game…” followed by some choice words about not really caring about basketball, making the audience chuckle.
“Twin Brother”, a very touching song of regret from 2005’s Forever Hasn’t Happened Yet contained haunting, beautiful harmonies from Cindy.
He introduced the Bob Dylan Cover “Pressing On” by saying, “I’m not religious, but I do have some spiritual ideas, if you care to discuss them with me at the merch table…” garnering laughter from the crowd, although they soon hushed up as he played this spiritual (or religious, depending on one’s point of view) number. Later, he also covered Johnny Cash’s “I Still Miss Someone” and a lovely, emotional version of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You”.
“4th of July” a bittersweet X song, is a perfect accompaniment to these sunny summer days, but Doe complained that he always hears someone request it in November.
John checked in with the audience: “Are you all having a good time? Excellent. It’s all going to come to an end.”
“Lucky Penny”, a cherished love song from Keeper, generated a wistful sigh from Booth 13. [Why do I find his grumpy rants so endearing? Because he can still write and sing an honest love song.]
“Who has worked in a factory?” asked John. A few people raised their hands. “Seven people? No wonder this country’s so fucked up. There are no factories here anymore!” “Giant Step Backwards” from Keeper, can also be interpreted as a song of love lost.
Doe flew into another Keeper tune, “Never Enough”, which rants about our materialistic society, or as John put it, the “fucked-up-edness of our country” and lists all the junk we have–and how it’s never enough. Although the lyrics are scornful, the upbeat tempo is undeniably danceable.
“This May Be the Last Time” from Dead Rock West’s second album, Bright Morning Stars was introduced by John with, “Nothing is as fearsome as an unhappy partner!” He let Cindy take the lead, and Jesse backed her with lots of bluesy reverb.
Exene wrote the next song on her last record, called “Alone in Arizona” and Doe loved it, so he played it this night. Jesse accompanied with a mood-altering solo to a somber audience. The lyrics are dark and heavy: My heart is blue with losing you / My soul is still losing you / The road is rough, I’m losing you / The sun beats down, I’m losing you
Doe didn’t leave the crowd hanging in the dark for long, and picked up speed again with “Telephone By The Bed” from Freedom Is…with Jesse taking a Billy Zoom punk stance and tight, thumping drums from Eric Hughes.
“The Have Nots”, his ode to the dive bar, was prefaced with the plea, “Take the dive bars back from the fucking hipsters!”
“Golden State” from A Year in The Wilderness was another crowd favorite, made even more special with Cindy Wasserman sharing vocals with Doe. They ended the regular set to more cheers and applause.
They soon returned to the stage as the clapping continued and played the quietly moving “Darling Underdog”, also from A Year in The Wilderness and co-written with Exene.
After the show, John invited the audience to visit with him at the merch table, along with Jesse and Cindy. Jacob and I gathered our things and headed over there immediately. There was only a short line, so we quickly queued up while I pulled out a couple of business cards. I introduced myself to Cindy, who was in charge of merch. She recognized my name from my daily video posts of Doe on Facebook over the last week, and I told her I saw her at Neumos a few years ago with Dead Rock West. She was so friendly and sweet. I also spent a little time chatting with Jesse, who was also charming, and handed him my card. I purchased three CD’s, including John’s 2011 gem, Keeper, another copy of The Best of John Doe This Far (his latest and greatest collection) for a friend, and Jesse’s Tall Texas Tales. Support the independent artists who venture to your city and play small clubs and venues. Support quality music.
John was busy talking to an older gentleman, a few steps away from the merch table. Another woman was awaiting a turn for his signature on a CD. I could feel my nerves set in, but as he patiently listened to the man, he looked up and smiled at me. I’m not sure if that helped settle my nerves or made them worse. Finally, it was my turn. I felt immediately humbled among punk royalty. I was shaking a little, and my shyness seems to paralyze my ability to speak. I’d rehearsed a few lines, but they all went away. Below is what I remember of our brief conversation:
“Hi, I’m with…well, I’m not with anyone, but I am writing about the show tonight for No Depression. I’m Lisa.”
While I said this, I handed him my card, and he shook my hand and said, “Oh, that’s ok, you don’t have to be with anyone. Oh good…Nice to meet you.”
“This is my son, Jacob. He took pictures tonight.” John shook his hand as Jacob smiled.
“Have you been to an X show before?”
“No, I’m a little late to the game, here, but I’ve been studying up, bought some CD’s…” Of course, I failed to mention I’ve been a fan these last four years or so, but also ashamed I haven’t been a fan for the last four decades.
“Well that’s ok, always good to have new people at our shows. A good night tonight. Nice to play in a club with a great acoustics.”
I did ask to get his pic before the other fans came over, and he said, “Sure, come on over here,” and motioned me to step close so he could put his arm around me. It all happened so quickly. It was over in a matter of seconds. Jake took one pic on his phone. Me, all crazy eyed, pointing at him, saying to myself, “Holy shit, I’m getting my pic with John Doe!” I was humbled and thrilled to meet him.
I woke up Saturday morning feeling cooler, somehow, having met John Doe. Thee John Doe. “The best hair in Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Punk Royalty.
My interview of The Sideshow Tragedy posted in No Depression today. Check out the fantastic, insightful responses from frontman Nathan Singleton here: http://nodepression.com/interview/sideshow-tragedy-set-drop-fiery-fifth-album
“Comeover and Jam” with Luther Wright as he finishes his latest album, Hearts and Lonely Hunters. Two preview mixes are available for a listen on the links above. Both songs are addictive and poppy, and I am looking forward to hearing the rest soon! You can also contribute to his campaign to raise money for manufacturing and producing the album, reserve your copy of the album and receive other perks.
For those of you not familiar with Seattle’s Ayron Jones and The Way, I thought I’d share this powerful video (and others) above. He played a fantastic acousitc show last night at The High Dive as part of their 10th anniversary celebration. Check out the videos and get a little taste of his talent on electric guitar as well as his soulful voice that can rock with the best of ’em. He just got back from SXSW and be starring on the Mainstage at Sasquatch Festival at The Gorge Memorial Day weekend. Check out his bio and more info here: http://ajandtheway.com/
My interview with David Corley regarding his debut album, Available Light posted on No Depression today. See the article and full interview here: http://nodepression.com/interview/david-corley-wishes-right-star-and-debut-album-soars
I’m thrilled and honored to be a part of his journey. Looking forward to watching his album continue to soar! Many thanks to Bernadette Quigley for the opportunity to interview him, and to Paul Kerr over at Blabber ‘N’ Smoke for catching my eye with your glowing review of David’s album! Check it out: https://paulkerr.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/david-corley-available-light/
I was just offered a chance to interview David Corley for No Depression this week. Stay tuned for more details. His debut album, Available Light is brilliant, so I’m looking forward to spreading the news. Meanwhile, check out his new video of his single, “Easy Mistake”, listen to his album on Bandcamp and purchase your own copy. Support this talented artist!
I can’t stop listening to this album called Available Light by David Corley. Please see the review by Blabber’n’Smoke and take a listen. Just ordered the CD via Bandcamp today.
Originally posted on Blabber 'n' Smoke:
It’s not often that one comes across a debut album from a 53 year old. It’s even rarer for that album to be a stone cold cracker, an instant classic (if such a thing exists), an album that immediately rewards and then gets better on repeated listens. Well, David Corley has achieved this with Available Light, ten songs of experience and at 53 Corley has a lot of experience under his belt. Raised in Lafayette, Indiana, Corley attended the University of Georgia leaving at the age of 20 after a series of “ecstatic visionary and mystical experiences” if we are to believe the biography. There followed 30 years of wanderlust and odd jobs coupled with a voracious reading and writing habit. Following cardiac problems he returned to Lafayette which brings us up to date and to the album.
Produced by Canadian Hugh Christopher Brown Available Light is an album that…
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I just posted a blog on No Depression regarding Doug Seegers’ show on February 22. Authentic Country. Check it out here:
I’m tired. It’s Deja Vu all over again. Didn’t we just do this last year? Will Kimbrough brought Brigitte DeMeyer along to The Northwest this time to promote her new album, Savannah Road. Will and Brigitte collaborated on this soulful collection of 13 songs. Will’s backing vocals and harmonies blend so well with her sultry voice.
The week before, they toured California with other gigs scheduled in Oregon and Washington; a cancellation sent them home to Nashville for a few days before resuming their tour in Portland and Seattle. Pat and I were tasked with driving them back up to Seattle after their Portland gig at The Doug Fir Lounge. Of course, when I say “task”, I mean it was truly our pleasure to transport our musical heroes around Portland and Seattle.
The audience at Doug Fir was supportive and enthusiastic. We were thankful that quite a few people showed up on this Wednesday night; the show didn’t start until 9:00.
Unfortunately, Brigitte caught a bug on her way over from Nashville and started to lose her voice. She sang a few beautiful songs from Savannah Road and Rose of Jericho, but yielded to Will to finish out the show. They usually take turns showcasing their own music and playing duets.
Will’s setlist included songs from Sideshow Love and Willie Sugarcapps as well as songs from older albums (not in order–I wanted to sit back and enjoy the show this time around and not scribble in my journal):
Sideshow Love / Mr. Lee / Mud Bottom / Trouble / Let The Big World Spin / I Want Too Much / Diamond in A Garbage Can / Goodnight Moon / Godsend / Another Train / Wash and Fold / Horseshoe Lake / Piece of Work
I’m sure there are some I missed, but that gives an idea of the liveliness of the set.
The next morning, we packed up the truck with gear and the five of us, including our friend Lori (whose birthday party Will played last year). We headed to Bellevue, Washington. They were scheduled to appear on a radio show 3:00 at Bellevue College. Traffic and a slow draw bridge increased our drive time by about a half hour. We barely made it, but the program directors quickly got them ready for broadcasting. Check out the audio here, about 26:40 min into the broadcast. http://kbcsweb.bellevuecollege.edu/playlist/player/?code=201502051500&hidesel=true
I am so impressed by the way they both can just go with the flow in these crazy, stressful situations. The whole trip seemed down to the minute everywhere we went. Will and Brigitte just sat right down, plugged in and started the show. Amazing. When they warmed up with a quick sound check, Will belted out “Trouble” and I watched the radio crew’s faces light up and their jaws drop to the floor. Yeah. We know.
Will was on point and played comic relief to Brigitte, whose voice was now a whisper. She spoke a little about her new album and let Will lead with three songs: Trouble, (Willie Sugarcapps), Mud Bottom (Willie Sugarcapps) and Emotion Sickness (Sideshow Love). They were going to end the show there, but had a little more time. Brigitte helped him as he read lyrics off his phone for Mud and Moss, his Birthday song for Lori last year. We had a blast watching them and trying to keep from laughing aloud in the studio’s living room (it was located in a small house). Ethan Anderson from Massy Ferguson is also an instructor at the college. He joined us briefly, but had to get back to class. We were happy he showed up to support this fantastic duo.
We then headed out across I-90 to Seattle where, after a snafu at the Hilton with reservations, we had about 15 minutes to stuff Will and Brigitte into a taxi and get them to the Royal Room in Columbia City for sound check. We finished getting ready while we waited for another friend, Kenny, to join us. We took Uber in to the Royal Room and were pleased to walk in and see lots of people we knew and a full dining room.
Brigitte allowed Will to run the show this night, as she needed to rest her voice. She did join him for a few songs and backed with her guitar and sang for a few minutes.
Will was the funny man tonight and kept us entertained with stories about his dad, growing up a Democrat in Alabama (he and his friends who moved away are lovingly referred to as escapees) and other anecdotes from his full and fascinating life.
But the music was foremost, and once again he blew us away. He uses a little Regal guitar from the 1930’s, which is small enough to take with him on the plane. He made that thing sing, and he raked over the frets with his copper slide to whoops and applause from the crowd.
Besides playing tunes from Willie Sugarcapps and Sideshow Love as he did the previous night, Will dove deep into his prolific catalog and tested some new songs for a future record:
Philadelphia, MS / Diamond in a Garbage Can / Goodnight Moon / Godsend / Horseshoe Lake / Glory Be / Big Sister / I Don’t Like It / Star / another about his dad called I Hear Your Voice, and an improvised Gotta Pee song for Lori and Kenny when they stepped out for a few minutes. He also made another attempt at a few verses of Mud and Moss which cracked everyone up. Here are the original lyrics to the version he played in Bellingham last year:
Will played for almost three hours to an elated audience. It was the best show I’ve ever seen him play.
We were honored to be a part of this short tour. Now, it’s time to rest and recover before heading out to another show.
- Alan Rickman
- Ann Wilson
- Ayron Jones
- Ayron Jones and The Way
- Benjamin Doerr
- Big Daddy's Place
- Big Sandy
- black crabs
- Bob Dylan
- Brent Amaker and the Rodeo
- Brigitte DeMeyer
- Chateau Ste Michelle
- Cindy Wasserman
- Columbia City Theater
- Concert Season 2005
- Concert Season 2006
- Concert Season 2007
- Concert Season 2008
- Concert Season 2009
- Concert Season 2010
- Concert Season 2011
- Concert Season 2012
- Concert Season 2013
- Concert Season 2014
- Concert Season 2015
- Conor Byrne
- Country Dave Harmonson
- Cristina Bautista
- Damian Brennan
- Darrell's Tavern
- David Bowie
- David Corley
- Davidson Hart Kingsbery
- Deception Past
- Doug Fir Lounge
- Dudley Taft
- Dusty 45's
- Eddie's Attic
- Emmylou Harris
- Ethan Anderson
- Flight to Mars
- Fox and The Law
- Fremont Music Scene
- George Harrison
- Gimme Shelter
- Hard Rock Cafe
- Harry Belafonte
- High Dive
- Honky Tonk Sweethearts
- Hook and Anchor
- Jack Kerouac
- Jakob Dylan
- Jedd Hughes
- Jesse Dayton
- Jimmy Buffett
- John Doe
- John Mellencamp
- Kasey Anderson
- Langhorne Slim
- Legendary Oaks
- Lori Gras
- Los Straitjackets
- Luther Wright
- Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands
- Marshall Chapman
- Marymoor Park
- Massy Ferguson
- Murphy's Lagh
- Music in Atlanta
- Nancy Wilson
- Nectar Lounge
- New Mexico
- No Depression
- North Twin
- Old 97's
- Ole Tinder
- Paul McCartney
- Railroad Earth
- Randy Hansen Band
- Redhook Brewery
- Rod Stewart
- Rodney Crowell
- Rolling Stones
- Roots Rock
- Ryan Adams
- Ryan Purcell and The Last Round
- Slim's San Francisco
- Small Sur
- southern culture on the skids
- St. Paul de Vence
- Star Anna
- Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs
- Steve Martin
- Stevie Ray Vaughan
- Tagaris Winery
- The Avett Brothers
- The B-52's
- The Believers
- The Black Crabs
- The Brambles
- The Cardinals
- The Chris Eger Band
- The David Wax Museum
- The Fonda Theatre
- The Gorge Amphitheatre
- The Gourds
- The Green Frog
- The Hi-Risers
- The Juliettes
- The Outlaws
- The Paperboys
- The Paramount Theatre
- The People Now
- The Puyallup Fair
- The Rainieros
- The Royal Room
- The Satellite 4
- The Shanty Tavern
- The Showbox
- The Sideshow Tragedy
- The Sunmakers
- The Sunset Tavern
- The Swearengens
- The Tractor Tavern
- The Triple Door
- The Wallflowers
- The Wild Feathers
- Todd Snider
- Tom Petty
- Toubab Krewe
- Van Morrison
- Vicci Martinez
- Weird Al Yankovic
- White River Amphitheatre
- Will Kimbrough
- Willie Nelson
- Willie Sugarcapps
- Yellowstone Country Guardians