Who is Johnny Dowd?

okay….first things first…I must admit that i got the cd, Cruel Words, as mp3’s from a friend as an album that I *had* to listen to.  I do a little Dowd research and see that he is “alt.country” or “country” depending on where you look and he is in his upper 50’s. Okay. I am expecting typical country fare and I may or may not like it but I am not by any means expecting anything special.  So, the mp3’s camped out on my computer for a month or more and my bud emailed me asking what I was thinking of the cd.  I told him I had not gotten around to checking out yet……2 minutes later I got a profanity laced reply telling me if I did not listen to it today I was gonna get kicked in the shins this weekend…well, I hate getting kicked in the shins and it was a pretty slow day in my cubicle so i fired it up.  Well, 2 songs into it I emailed the dude and asked him if this was a joke? Cause the mp3’s I have are mislabeled or something….this sounds more like Buck 65 than a 50 something year old country musician.  “Pretty funky ain’t it” was his reply.  Ever the skeptic and convinced I was at the tail end of an elaborate joke I did a little research. Turns out the sounds coming from my speakers were indeed the Johnny Dowd fella….Freakin’ Hell!  Retro Organs…driving “punchy” guitars and a spoken word rap style vocal delivery…this dude fucking rocks!  His subject matter is seriously dark as well….one song sets a Brokeback Mountain type scene…however, instead of giving in to his love this cowboy takes out his revolver and….well, goes commando on his junk… “He drew his pistol, fired six warning shots/ Five of them missed their target, but the sixth one did not.”  There are suicidal musicians, drunks, junkies, vets in wheelchairs and whores scattered throughout the disc telling their stories and cussing their maker in a very interesting form of doom-laden country goth….at the end of the third time through the cd I sent my friend a single line response:

“Johnny Dowd is the bad santa of country music.”

what’s that mean? It means I like this Johnny Dowd character and you might as well…

Johnny Dowd – Anxiety
Johnny Dowd – Cradle of Lies
Johnny Dowd – Miracles Never Happen