John Doe, Specifically
If it sounds country, man, that’s what it is. It’s a country song. – Kris Kristofferson
From X to his solo work, John Doe has been a consistently gnar presence on the American music scene. His two contributions to the I’m Not There soundtrack are outstanding. His performance of “The New World” from Pearl Jam’s Live at Easy Street is fantastic (here’s Pearl Jam playing the song with Tim Robbins, of all people). I was lucky enough to see him twice at the 9:30 Club here in DC, and the guy can play.
His recent album Country Club gets right to the heart of so much that’s great about country music. The album is stripped of the saccharine gloss Nashville seems to be so fond of these days, even as it refuses to reinvent the wheel. It’s not post country or alt country or country rock or countrified. It’s lovingly messy country music.