by: Gus Bernadicou
With a little honky tonk guitar and a room full of junk John Doe’s latest project “Keeper” is nothing short of excellent. Released on Yep Roc Records, the label behind Ian Hunter’s masterpiece “Shrunken Heads,” “Keeper” is oh-so-sophisticated with its wall of noise production, sleek guitars, trendy background vocals, and John Doe’s distinct voice. It’s hard to picture the punk legend, showing his soft side; but apparently he can. “Little Tiger,” is a powerful acoustically based ballad, which is destined to be in a love scene in a movie. “Walking Out The Door” allows the country vibe of the album to continue, getting the listener ready for “Jump Into My Arms.” “Jump Into My Arms,” is a handsome number featuring impressive background vocals by Jill Sobule and drumming by Victor Bisetti. While the album is winding down, the track “Lucky Penny” helps lower everything a few notch and hints at the emotion behind the conviction of Doe’s words. Closing the album is “Painting the Town Blue,” the perfect finish to the album. The album lacks the sneer and whit of X, Doe’s LA punk band, but it tells the tale of an older Doe, who has a new look on life. Why paint the town red, when you can paint it blue?
A note from John Doe on Keeper…
why are we so tired
we must’ve slept too long
how could we know how sick we were
when we were both too sick to talk
silence makes the heart grow colder
though we knew it didn’t matter
how hard we tried to make it better
scars are only wounds
that have lost their sense of humor

Dark & sad are typical places for most people to start writing songs. It’s a location that the last four JD records came from. Writing songs to exercise turmoil can become second nature and that well is deep. So what happens when most everything you’ve written has come from that darker place and you finally find some happiness & satisfaction? You really don’t care about writing songs at all, why should you when things are finally good. Wanne be reviewed? gus@punkglobe.com . . . keep up with the madness @Bernadicou