John Doe’s “Psychadelic Soul Record” From the Desert

Doe remains a stirring singer who embodies weary determination and impassioned grace on “The Westerner.”


John Doe
The Westerner
Cool Rock Records/Thirty Tigers

Shepard Fairey & Aaron Huey

First heard almost 40 years (!) ago as a member of the great LA punk group X, John Doe never fit the clichés of the genre, intertwining his voice with bandmate Exene Cervenka’s in wailing harmonies that sounded more like hillbilly laments than nihilist diatribes. As a solo artist, he’s compiled a striking body of work that spans the 57 varieties of roots music. Dedicated to his late friend Michael Blake (author of Dances with Wolves), The Westerner is billed by Doe as his “psychedelic, soul record from the Arizona desert,” which is another way of saying he’s delivered a dusty, sure-handed set of vibrant down-home rock’n’folk full of longing, sympathy, and hope. Joined by guest vocalists Debbie Harry of Blondie and Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power), Doe remains a stirring singer who embodies weary determination and impassioned grace on the heart-tugging ballad “Sunlight” and the greasy foot-stomper “Go Baby Go.” Tough and tender and once, The Westerner is a genuine old-school treasure.

 

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.