Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Johnny Dowd 

Tuesday, March 22, at the Beachland Ballroom.

Johnny Dowd
  • Johnny Dowd
True love is a blessing/True love is a curse, begins one song on Johnny Dowd's 2002 disc The Pawnbroker's Wife, and though he addresses emotional highs (largely in the past tense), he's more comfortable scraping depression's depths.

After almost two decades of playing informally with friends and family members, including a cover-band stint that informs the dirge-paced versions of classic rock songs he sprinkles into current set lists, Dowd released his discomforting debut, Wrong Side of Memphis, in 1998. His next two albums, festively decorated with harrowing holiday-themed scenarios and creepy Christmas-carol snippets, supplemented his murder ballads with shady characters both supernatural (dead souls bellying up to the bar) and remarkably real (a cowboy customer selling his wedding band to his former bride's unsuspecting pawnbroker husband). His tar-toned tunes have a timeless, resilient feel. Longtime collaborator Kim Sherwood-Caso, whose angelic vocal accents hinted at salvation during Dowd's depravity-drenched depictions of abject misery, disappears on 2004's Cemetery Shoes, though capable singers such as Neko Case and Sally Timms filled her spot during recent gigs. (The role of surreal chanteuse might be open for audition at this tour stop.)

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 [email protected].

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 Andrew Miller

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 5, 2022

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

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


Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays
  • Kiry Shabazz @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Thu., Jan. 27
  • Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood @ Packard Music Hall

    • Thu., Jan. 27

© 2022 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