John Doe and The Sadies hit Manhattan on May 6 at The City Winery and played a rocking show. Ranging from X covers “Have Nots” to country classics such as Kris Kristofferson’s Help Me Make It Through the NightJohn Doe demonstrated why he is one of the finest talents in music today. With The Sadies, an amazing band from Canada backing him, John Doe put on a clinic in country based roots music featuring the tunes from his latest release “Country Club.” Ever the show man, Doe had the crowd laughing with his anecdotes in between songs. For someone who came up in the punk revolution of the late 70’s in his days in X, Doe is extremely comfortable crooning country ballads such as Willie Nelson’s “Night Life.” This gives his shows an emotional intensity that few artists today can capture. But it’s not all intense. Humor is a big part of the ingredients too. In a song that he co-wrote with Exene Cervennka, his long time partner from X, “Dawned On Me,” Doe captures in an ironic way the betrayals of life. He conveys the message that even though life is cruel and harsh it is also funny and a good time which the crowd was having that night as well Doe and the Sadies who you can not ask to be a better backing band. This was evident when Doe let them take the forefront on such tunes as “Mother of Earth.” A big highlight of the night occurred when Garth Hudson of The Band joined festivities on stage underscoring the roots nature of the set. At then end of the night everyone left satisfied having seen a fantastic show.
Since the early days of X, I have always been a great fan of John Doe. He continually presents a new identity constantly. In this photoset I captured him at Maxwell’s performing his solo work with the back up band Dead Rock West. In this show John mixed solo work with classics from X. It was also a nice mixture between his rock numbers and folk pieces. He has the uncanny ability to go from hard rock tunes to searing insightful folk ballads.