12 Songs, 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Age suits John Doe well. Even when he co-fronted the L.A. punk band X two decades ago, he seemed older than his years, and 2007’s A Year In The Wilderness finds his trademark howl and jagged sense of poetics in well-seasoned form. This album brings Doe’s rootsier qualities to the surface, presenting the singer/songwriter as a Dust Bowl troubadour roaming the bleak outskirts of 21st Century America. Those who miss the manic energy of X’s glory days will get a charge out of “Lean Out Your Window” and “Hotel Ghost” (the latter featuring Doe’s former bandmate Dave Alvin wailing mercilessly on lead guitar). “The Golden State” (a scorching duet with Canadian country-rocker Kathleen Edwards) invokes memories of the ‘80s California cowpunk scene. But the album’s lyrics make clear that Doe isn’t interested in wallowing in nostalgia. He struggles to come to terms with present-day dreams and fears in tracks like “Unforgiven,” “The Bridge” and “Darling Underdog.” Especially potent in this vein is “A Little More Time,” a bleakly lovely ballad worthy of vintage Dylan. John Doe may have spent A Year in the Wilderness, but this album finds him very much on track.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Age suits John Doe well. Even when he co-fronted the L.A. punk band X two decades ago, he seemed older than his years, and 2007’s A Year In The Wilderness finds his trademark howl and jagged sense of poetics in well-seasoned form. This album brings Doe’s rootsier qualities to the surface, presenting the singer/songwriter as a Dust Bowl troubadour roaming the bleak outskirts of 21st Century America. Those who miss the manic energy of X’s glory days will get a charge out of “Lean Out Your Window” and “Hotel Ghost” (the latter featuring Doe’s former bandmate Dave Alvin wailing mercilessly on lead guitar). “The Golden State” (a scorching duet with Canadian country-rocker Kathleen Edwards) invokes memories of the ‘80s California cowpunk scene. But the album’s lyrics make clear that Doe isn’t interested in wallowing in nostalgia. He struggles to come to terms with present-day dreams and fears in tracks like “Unforgiven,” “The Bridge” and “Darling Underdog.” Especially potent in this vein is “A Little More Time,” a bleakly lovely ballad worthy of vintage Dylan. John Doe may have spent A Year in the Wilderness, but this album finds him very much on track.

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