Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Johnny Dowd 

Friday, December 15, at the Beachland.

Haunted by the bad things he's done, Johnny Dowd - comes to the Beachland.
  • Haunted by the bad things he's done, Johnny Dowd comes to the Beachland.
A middle-aged furniture mover who has claimed the fringe-blues as his means for exorcising murderous demons, singer-guitarist Johnny Dowd has come in to rock and roll late in life. Maybe, as it sometimes sounds, he's read too much Jim Thompson or Raymond Chandler. It's more likely that he's just a man using the medium that allows best for his self-expression to avert the ghosts that vex his soul. Like Robert Duvall's E.F. (from the 1998 film The Apostle), Dowd is a good man haunted by bad things he has either done or perceives to have happened in the world he lives in. He's trying to make his life virtuous, or at least make sense of it, and his two albums, 1998's Wrong Side of Memphis and last year's Pictures From Life's Other Side, cut right to the heart with downcast titles and songs filled with painful guitar noises and howling, aching vocals. Wrong Side of Memphis opens, quite succinctly, with a song titled "Murder" and closes with "Welcome Jesus," neither of which minces feelings or words. Dowd often sounds as though he is possessed, and his live performance does little to refute such a notion. All in all, he doesn't present comfortable fare; he's battling such brutal anguish in these songs that they can only be performed in unsettling fashion by a man who might seem downright fucking scary at times. Not unlike Thompson's horrifying text or Duvall's uneasy script, Dowd proves once again that even the most normal folk can get the blues, and when they get pushed too far, they get ugly.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club


Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.


Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.


Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Speaking of Previews

Latest in Livewire

More by Kurt Hernon

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 17, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays
  • Andrea Bocelli @ Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

    • Thu., Dec. 2
  • Kellen Erskine @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Thu., Dec. 2

© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.


Website powered by Foundation