John Doe’s “Psychadelic Soul Record” From the Desert

Doe remains a stirring singer who embodies weary determination and impassioned grace on “The Westerner.”


John Doe
The Westerner
Cool Rock Records/Thirty Tigers

Shepard Fairey & Aaron Huey

First heard almost 40 years (!) ago as a member of the great LA punk group X, John Doe never fit the clichés of the genre, intertwining his voice with bandmate Exene Cervenka’s in wailing harmonies that sounded more like hillbilly laments than nihilist diatribes. As a solo artist, he’s compiled a striking body of work that spans the 57 varieties of roots music. Dedicated to his late friend Michael Blake (author of Dances with Wolves), The Westerner is billed by Doe as his “psychedelic, soul record from the Arizona desert,” which is another way of saying he’s delivered a dusty, sure-handed set of vibrant down-home rock’n’folk full of longing, sympathy, and hope. Joined by guest vocalists Debbie Harry of Blondie and Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power), Doe remains a stirring singer who embodies weary determination and impassioned grace on the heart-tugging ballad “Sunlight” and the greasy foot-stomper “Go Baby Go.” Tough and tender and once, The Westerner is a genuine old-school treasure.

 

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate