Johnny Dowd
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Wrong Side of Memphis (1998), 6/10
Pictures from Life's Other Side (1999), 5/10
Temporary Shelter (2001), 6.5/10
The Pawnbroker's Wife (2002), 6.5/10
Cemetery Shoes (2004), 5/10
Cruel Worlds (2006), 4/10
A Drunkard's Masterpiece (2008), 4/10

Johnny Dowd is a singer-songwriter based in New York state who debuted at 50 with the gloomy "murder ballads" of Wrong Side of Memphis (1998), arranged in a spartan manner that further increased the sense of dejection. His style was alt-country with Nick Cave-esque overtones. After Pictures from Life's Other Side (1999), which added a country-rock backing band, and another slab of manic depression, Temporary Shelter (2001), perhaps his most intense and elegant statement yet (Cradle to The Grave, Sky Above Mud Below), Dowd found a nice balance of bleakness and humour on the more accessible The Pawnbroker's Wife (2002), whose songs are enhanced with off-kilter dynamics and arrangements (mostly dissonant and slightly electronic), often sounding like a cross between Tom Waits and Sonic Youth. At the same time, Dowd's most "rocking" album recasts him as (Sweeter Than Honey, Woody Guthrie Blues, Virginia Beach, Judgement Day). The electronic arrangements became even more subtle on Cemetery Shoes (2004), which manages to be both his most traditional collection and its most experimental (Dear John Letter, Rest In Peace).

Cruel Worlds (2006) and A Drunkard's Masterpiece (Munich, 2008) drifted progressively towards Michael Stark's electronic keyboards and even Kim Sherwood's vocals.

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