Shortly after emigrating from Ireland to England in 2000, I went through my alt.country/americana phase
I was intrigued by the album Wrong-Eyed Jesus (The Mysterious Tale of How I Shouted) by Jim White, who had worked as a professional model, surfer, preacher, and NY taxi driver before ending up a musician. The BBC made a fab documentary Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus (or here outside the UK) a couple of years later, where Jim takes a road trip through the gothic south, meeting all the weird and wonderful characters and musicians, of which the gritty Johnny Dowd is one. Johnny (75) used to run a removals business and took up guitar in his 40s. His songs often deal with the seedy underbelly of American life and his music have what I would call a ‘lo-fi dissonance’.
I had the good fortune to catch him play live in a tiny venue after the pandemic when he signed my guitar. One of my favourite gigs ever
When I saw a fb post the other week announcing a 2024 European tour with a couple of free dates if someone had a venue, I put the gears into action and began stalking him and his manager
I believe I have persuaded them to play a house gig next March in return for lodgings and vittles along with a moderate donation
I’m stoked. (I’ll be wearing the hat Jim White wore at his gig in the Deaf institute Manchester last year)
Even if the plans go pear-shaped, I’ve had a blast trying to organise it (including a couple of fb chats with Brett Sparks from The Handsome Family, who also featured in the above film)
Who says turning 60 is boring?
I’m now off to try to learn one of his songs for the next OM…
Who knows, I might even play it for the man himself?
For those with ears for ‘different’ music, here are a couple of my favourite slow-burners
I often find anticipation is just as pleasurable than the event itself
I sound like a kid most of the time
@TheMadman_tobyjenner I just love it when you can play a part in something different happening
The authenticity of the doc is what I found compelling.
It’s not one for a fine Beaujolais or Lagavulin, more a 1 Euro red or moonshine.
Think Deliverance, the Musical
@Blobbyblob Ta, Dom
My daughter informed me with a straight face: “You’ll have to be careful to not be too annoying!”
Confirmation from the manager last night- Thunderbirds are GO!
Everything about this story is so cool Brian. Does a house gig literally mean… a gig at your house? Or is that some slang for a gig at the local pub or hall or something?
The music is unique. Poetry and electric guitar. Makes me think a bit of Sonic Youth mashed with Tom Waits. Definitely not radio friendly, but I can fully imagine chilling with a beer listening to a gig.
What is even cooler is how he started at 40! And is 75 now! And has fans (you for one). How does one even do that with all the young bands coming up all the time.