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Friday, April 15, 2016

a home for the americana diaspora
April 9, 2016
Scott Foley

Here's a little something to make us all feel a bit older.  Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the band X.  Los Angeles, Wild Gift, Under the Big Black Sun, More Fun In the New World.  An almost unprecedented 4-record run from 1980 to 1983 that still sounds fresh and even dangerous at times.  John Doe launched a solo career soon after the dissolution of his marriage with Exene Cervenka, and has been consistently cool ever since (even through his cover of Dolly's "I Will Always Love You" for the Bodyguard  -  look it up).  Doe's new album, The Westerner, marks his first new studio record since 2011's The Keeper.  Produced by Giant Sand's eclectic Howe Gelb, Doe calls it his "psychedelic soul record".  That dry desert sound is nowhere more present than in "Alone In Arizona", built on shuffling drums, scratchy guitar, wayward accordion and a good helping of spacey wah-wah.  Even in his earliest days playing foil to Exene, Doe always wielded one of the strongest voices in punk music.  Listen to the effort he invests in "Trail of Time" on the debut Knitters record.  On Westerner, he spars with Debbie Harry and Chan Marshall.  "Get On Board" is an altar call of sorts, driven by deep soul organ, reverb guitar and urgent rhythms:  You might get to choose when you get on board / But you gotta get on board this train.  "Go Baby Go" recalls the artist's edgier days, with Harry's contribution harkening back to Doe's previous partner.  Boasting gratuitous use of cowbell, "Drink Of Water" strikes a balance between tuneful americana and sharper punk influences.  In some ways, it's the collection's slower cuts such as "Sunlight" and "Sweet Reward" that showcase Doe as a better lyricist and singer than he's typically given credit for.  They also best reflect the dust dry desert spirit that pervades the sessions.  Coinciding with the album release, John Doe will also issue a book that serves as an oral history of So.Cal punk during the years 1977-1982, Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History of LA Punk.  Dear DaCapo Press:  You could do worse than to send a copy my way ...

Also this week, Hearty Gracias to everyone who supports Routes & Branches and KRFC during our twice yearly Membership Drives.  If you missed out on the opportunity to pledge during the drive, good news is that we'll still be more than happy to take your money via the station's state of the art website.

Next week's Episode we'll return you to your regularly scheduled programming (with an apparent foot of snow in the forecast).  We'll stretch out once more to accommodate our usual 26-ish tunes, including new cuts from Felice Brothers, Avett Brothers and Hard Working Americans Brothers.  Until then, please relive this week's show with some help from the following playlist:

- Townes Van Zandt, "Who Do You Love" Sunshine Boy  (Omnivore, 13)
- John Moreland, "Nobody Gives a Damn About Songs Anymore" In the Throes  (Last Chance, 13)
- Hard Working Americans, "Opening Statement" Rest In Chaos  (Melvin, 16)
- Loretta Lynn, "Everything It Takes" Full Circle  (Sony, 16)
- Old Crow Medicine Show, "Take 'em Away" OCMS  (Nettwerk, 04)
- Jayhawks, "Dust of Long Dead Stars" Paging Mr Proust  (Thirty Tigers, 16)
- Sturgill Simpson, "In Bloom" Sailor's Guide To Earth  (Atlantic, 16)
- Courtney Barnett, "New Speedway Boogie" Day Of the Dead  (4AD, 16)
- Dave Insley, "Win Win Situation For Losers" Just the Way That I Am  (Insley, 16)
- Hayes Carll, "Love That We Need" Lovers & Leavers  (Thirty Tigers, 16)
- Sarah Borges, "Tendency To Riot" Good and Dirty  (Dry Lightning, 16)
- Richmond Fontaine, "Don't Skip Out On Me" You Can't Go Back ...  (Fluff & Gravy, 16)
- Slobberbone, "Lumberlung" Bees & Seas: Best of Slobberbone  (New West, 16)
- Jeffrey Foucault, "Des Moines" Salt As Wolves (Blueblade, 15)
- Parker Millsap, "Pining" Very Last Day  (Thirty Tigers, 16)
- Lucero, "Sometimes" Women & Work  (ATO, 12)
- Cowboy Junkies, "Jesus Is Coming Soon" God Don't Never Change  (Alligator, 16)
- White Denim, "Real Deal Momma" Stiff  (Downtown, 16)
- Mavis Staples, "Love and Trust" Livin' On a High Note  (Anti, 16)
- Patterson Hood, "Back of a Bible" Murdering Oscar  (Ruth St, 09)
- Austin Lucas, "Pray For Rain" Between the Moon and the Midwest  (Last Chance, 16)
^ John Doe, "Drink of Water" The Westerner  (Cool Rock, 16)
- Alejandro Escovedo, "Everybody Loves Me" Bourbonitis Blues  (Bloodshot, 99)

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