28 January 2011
American Songbook at Lincoln Center
John Doe performed at Lincoln Center on 28 January 2011 as part of their American Songbook series and these are Viggo's program notes for the show.
John Doe is American. I have seen his passport.
If you listen to him tonight and hear Phil Ochs or June Christy, Merle Haggard or Judy Garland, Johnny Hartman or Patsy Cline, Bobby Fuller or Exene Cervenka, then you, too, are probably American or pretty close to it. Over the past 25 years I've had the good fortune to hear and see John sing all kinds of songs, solo as well as accompanied, in all kinds of venues and situations. He is both devastatingly original and nearly the guy next door, ever so different but familiar in his strangeness, spare and provocative as a straight-razor, elegant and inviting as a seamless three-part harmony hummed from the dark end of the street.
He'll pull as much blues out of country as he will soul out of punk with his raggedly perfect sound, at once unguardedly raw and seductively melodious. John seems to always share an intimate part of himself with us, in his own songs as well as those of others, while unerringly hanging a bell on the half note we only dreamed of. One of the very best songwriters and surely the finest, most perfectly pitched voice to come out of any punk rock band, John has also proven himself an instinctively great writer and interpreter of so-called American roots music, including folk, bluegrass, and classic country-western songs.
He is an outstanding "live" performer, unique in his ability to connect with the words, the tune, and the audience in just the right heartbeat as he builds the long, exquisite moment. You'll hear it and feel it tonight, and you will be so glad you were here.
Last edited: 29 April 2011 07:55:49