Local Wire

John Doe

With some 25 years of hindsight, the work of X sounds more and more like folk music "turned up to 11," to plagiarize a phrase. These musicians may have been extreme in their attitude and energy, but their intelligent lyrics and acidic humor marked them as populists as well as rockers. On his sixth solo outing, X founding member John Doe goes back to his folk/blues roots for a warm, stripped-down collection of heartfelt roots-rock balladry. "The Losing Kind" is spooky roadhouse blues that shows Doe in touch with his inner Jim Morrison. Musically, "Twin Brother" is as stark as a traditional Appalachian murder ballad, but the lyrics deal with the struggle between siblings in a modern suburban setting. The Everly Brothers harmonies that Grant Lee Phillips and Doe bring to the track give the song an aching poignancy. "She's Not" is a morose ode to lost love marked by Doe's tender, almost tearful vocals, and the melancholy organ work of Jamie Muhoberak.
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J. Poet