Dim Stars, Bright Sky

Dim Stars, Bright Sky

by John DoeJohn Doe


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If the Los Angeles punk scene produced a better or more passionate singer than John Doe, it would be nice to know who it is, but while he knew how to belt it out over the gale-force blast of X, in his work with the Knitters (and on X's late-period acoustic album Unclogged), Doe proved he also knew how to communicate just as well in a quieter and more intimate setting. Dim Stars, Bright Sky, Doe's fourth solo album, is being billed as his first acoustic solo LP, but that bends the boundaries of truth in advertising just a bit; while several of the songs are built around low-key non-amplified arrangements (most notably "Seven Holes," "Faraway (From the North Country)," and "Always"), most of the album's tunes feature electronic keyboards, drum loops, electric guitars, or some combination thereof. Not that that's bad; the blend of the acoustic rhythm guitar and fuzzy leads on "This Far" (not to mention the old-school electric piano sound) makes the most of a solid song, and the splashing drums and Rickenbacker leads on "Backroom" give the tune a Byrds-ian undertow that's superb. However, if you were hoping for "John Doe Unplugged," that's not quite what you get. Also, while the cover promises duets with a number of notables, including Aimee Mann, Jakob Dylan, Jane Wiedlin, and Rhett Miller, most of Doe's co-vocalists are little more than glorified backup singers, lending fine harmonies but little personality of their own (faring best are Mann, whose sweet-and-sour harmony on "This Far" suggests a smoother version of Doe's vocal byplay with Exene Cervenka, and Juliana Hatfield, who proves to be a superb accompanist on her two tracks). Dim Stars, Bright Sky isn't the "just John with his guitar" album one might be expecting (and hoping for), but with John Doe writing great songs and singing them very well with a top-notch band, only a fool would complain. It's a great album from a great artist, but hopefully he'll take another stab at a real acoustic album one of these days.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/19/2011
Label: Imports
UPC: 5018766996098
catalogNumber: 753939
Rank: 102468

Album Credits

Performance Credits

John Doe   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Bass Guitar,Vocals,Harmony,Toy Piano
Juliana Hatfield   Harmony
Jane Wiedlin   Harmony
Aimee Mann   Harmony
Dave Carpenter   String Bass
Jakob Dylan   Harmony
Jamie Muhoberac   Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Electric Piano,Melodica
David Piltch   Bass
Smokey Hormel   Electric Guitar
Joey Waronker   Drums
Eric Heywood   Pedal Steel Guitar
Rhett Miller   Harmony
Ben Peeler   Mandolin,Pedal Steel Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Abe Laboriel   Drums

Technical Credits

John Doe   Producer,Engineer
Joe Henry   Producer
S. "Husky" Hoskulds   Engineer
Neil Kellerhouse   Logo
Dave Way   Sound Effects,Producer,Engineer,Engineering

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