Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Musical Alphabet - J

Today's Musical Alphabet focuses on the letter "J."  Generally speaking, I try to work as much diversity into a list as possible.  Today features two folk singers and all three are men.  After deciding that these were the three that really stood out, I asked my wife, Bri, to pick her three favorite from a list of almost a dozen J-themed artists.  She picked the same three I did - so here you go. :)

John Doe - "A Little More Time"

For such a critically acclaimed artist, surprisingly few people have heard of John Doe.

He's the founder of the much revered L.A. punk band X (Rolling Stone ranked two of their albums among the 500 greatest albums of all time) and has recorded punk, country, folk, and rock music.  He's also an actor, best known as Jeff Parker, the character who appeared in 18 episodes of the television show Roswell.

Born in 1954 as John Nommensen Duchac, his band X released their first album in 1980.  While he's received a good deal of critical acclaim (and is a legend in punk circles and the city of Los Angeles), commercial success has eluded him. 

I don't know about you, but when I think "punk music," I do not picture someone that has a smooth, beautiful voice like John Doe's.  This track (from his 2007 album, A Year in the Wilderness) calls a place somewhere between folk and country "home" - and listening to him singing as if his voice is a well-loved instrument is a treat.  His voice is unassuming, gentle but rich, and perfectly controlled throughout.  This is simple straightforward talent on display.

Josh Rouse - "Winter In the Hamptons"

I've heard Josh Rouse described as, "The indie John Mayer," and I'm not sure there is a better introduction for him.

Johnny Panic - "Burn Your Youth"

Johnny Panic is UK rock band with music that seems to be inspired by the likes of The Clash and The Jam.  Unlike yesterday's bands from the UK, Johnny Panic is largely unknown even in their own country - although this track climbed to #69 on the UK Singles Chart in 2004.  Much of the information on the band can be found in YouTube comments like, "OMG... this is no lie... he is mates with a builder... he had spare time and this builder was doing my kitchen so he asked Johnny if he wanted to help... I HAD THE DRUMMER IN MY HOUSE."


  1. Followed the link back to your blog from another one. I'm obviously from a different generation than you, because I'd have to go more for Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, but I do like the idea of using musicians as the theme for your A-Z challenge.

  2. Susan: Thank you for stopping by - and I can totally relate! In all honesty, I'd begun by writing a piece on Hendrix covering Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" and realized that there was simply too much really great music out there. (Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" is a personal favorite.) So... I decided to go with artists people had most likely never heard of. (I've commented on your blog as well and am following you now.)

  3. I'd never heard of John Doe before, he certainly does have a beautiful voice.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

  4. Very interesting use of the 3 "J's!" I actually played John and Josh at the same time and they made a nice duet. It's great that you're always trying new things. Julie

  5. well I have never heard of John Doe before, thank you for introducing me to him!!

  6. Julie: I've never played them together, but I can see how to two would fit well. Hmmmmm... :)

    Nancy and Baygirl: You're both very welcome. I love finding new music and it's treat to be able to share it with you. Thank you for being here. :)