The moving target called John Doe is not an artist easily known, because he will apparently continue to look like he's hitting a new stride right up to the bell where they say pencils down. He's never called it quits with his original bandmates in X, and we hope he never does. They just take breaks. He and Exene, in fact, penned a fantastic song on this outlandishly good record A Year In The Wilderness called "Darling Underdog" that is among my favorite songs of his ever.
Doe continues to defy the gently downward spiral that he might be arriving at at this point in the program. He's an actor of substance in many films, a rock solid hitter, and a vocalist that is not short of greatness. More importantly, he continues to expand and explore all the corners of his musical life, with X, with The Knitters, and in his solo efforts that dig deep, like his last blues-inspired classic Forever Hasn't Happened Yet and this new one, ripe again with sanguineous sinew.
Doe lives out in the woods, away from the beautiful people and the projects, the pitches, and the scene. He seemed very down to earth and down to the business of living in our short conversation (I had fifteen minutes, I was told in no uncertain terms) and completely right-sized for a man that's been where he's been. He typically had a lot of his closest musical friends on the record including longtime co-producer Dave Way and guitarist Dave Alvin, and an enviable batch of backup singers in Aimee Mann, Jill Sobule, and Kathleen Edwards, wow. To combine two aphorisms, some guys make all the luck.
A Year In The Wilderness is John Doe's second release for YepRoc, and that seems to be a beautiful partnership. The roll this guy's momentum has a rare consistency, and long may he roll.