John Doe

A Year in the Wilderness | Yep Roc
By TED DROZDOWSKI  |  July 17, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
The seminal American punk band X specialized in songs about love on the skids or on skid row. As a solo artist, X co-leader Doe has broadened his perspective and geography, but he’s still an unabashed romantic. On his winning sixth solo album, he’s a lonesome coyote howling for his mate (“Big Moon”), a skunk paying for his stinking behavior (“Unforgiven”) — and on “The Meanest Man in the World,” he sings about a potentially murderous rat with warm, gentle detachment. Despite such familiar themes, Doe’s emotional menagerie has grown more colorful as he’s revived his poetic strengths. On “Grain of Salt,” the lines “My only hope is that someday soon/You’ll press your palm to my chest/And the warmth of your hand/Will draw out the stone/That wakes me every night” imply a mix of toughness, vulnerability, and wistfulness more appropriate to a fairy-tale prince than an LA rock rebel. Yet the black-leather Doe materializes in “Hotel Ghost,” a snarler set to the churning guitars of Dave Alvin (whose former group the Blasters were X’s LA roots equivalent), and isn’t far beneath the surface of “The Golden State,” a duet about the rough-and-tumble nature of true love, with Kathleen Edwards subbing for Doe’s X-mate, Exene Cervenka. The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, Dylan pedal-steeler Greg Leisz, Aimee Mann, and Jill Sobule also take guest turns, but it’s all Doe’s show.

John Doe | T.T. the Bear’s Place, 10 Brookline St, Cambridge | July 27 | 617.492.BEAR
Related: Muck and the Mires, The band time forgot, Bad Religion, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Pop and Rock Music,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   TOM HAMBRIDGE | BOOM!  |  August 23, 2011
    Roots rock is the new country and ex-Bostonian Tom Hambridge is the style's current MPV.
  •   COUNTRY STRONG | SOUNDTRACK  |  January 11, 2011
    This steaming pile of songs is emblematic of the state of mainstream country music — all artifice, no heart, calculated anthems written to formula and meant, like the film itself, to do no more than capitalize on the genre's current success and rob its undiscriminating fans.
  •   MARC RIBOT | SILENT MOVIES  |  November 02, 2010
    This exceptional, eccentric guitarist has traced a slow evolution from screamer to dreamer.
  •   IN MEMORIAM: SOLOMON BURKE, 1940 — 2010  |  October 11, 2010
    Boston-based blues-guitar virtuoso Ronnie Earl seems to be considering his past on his 23rd album as a leader.

 See all articles by: TED DROZDOWSKI