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John Doe @ Friday Nights at the Getty: 1/18/08

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Last Friday I trundled up in the tram at The Getty Center to see a 'sold out', intimate performance. For the mere cost of parking and a little bumper-to-bumper on the 405, I and my brother from another mother, MX, got to sit in a comfy auditorium and listen to the laconic stylings of ex-punk (no pun intended) troubadour, John Doe. Now, ain't yah jealous?

Of course, I've always had a crush on Mr. Doe. What punker chick hasn't? His rootsy atonal, super-cool dudeness stood out in the early days of the LA scene and I'm happy to report it still does in a more tattered salt (& pepper) of the earth fashion. I must admit though, I haven't been very interested in his countrified solo stuff, beyond The Knitters--the band that single handedly got me to actually listen to and appreciate Roots/Americana music. What can I say? I like my music loud, fast and raucous. Nevertheless, after having caught The Knitters show at The Getty last season, I was curious to hear what all the critics and the staff of KPFK have been raving about.

The museum peeps were giddy about having Doe return to celebrate their 10th anniversary of such performances (brought to you by the good people at Community Arts Resources). We were surrounded by our peers, the 40 something set (Eek!), whose love of Doe was evident. One couldn't help but feel all warm, cozy and privileged as musicians, Dave Carpenter (bass), Greg Leisz (pedal steel), Jamie Muhoberac (keyboard), Cindy Wasserman (additional vocals) and John (guitar in hand) took to the stage and cranked out 18 songs in an hour and a little extra long set.

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Doe solo is not the X or even The Knitters of yesteryear. I was gonna say: this is not your parents John Doe, but in a way it is. The style is easy to listen to: mellow, introspective, roots and blues and folk inspired ballads and that meandering poetry set to music that singer/songwriters employ. Kind of slow, quiet and yes, even sleepy at times.