Showing posts with label "David Dondero". Show all posts
Showing posts with label "David Dondero". Show all posts


Great David Dondero Video Session

David Dondero Visits Tiny Desk Concert on NPR. This great video session features David Dondero playing some old and awesome new material. “There are four songs in this Tiny Desk Concert — listen to them all. Then tell anyone in love with true wordsmiths.” Bob Boilen NPR “Dondero’s songs compel me to cry, smile, laugh, and snicker concurrently. I often feel like he’s one of my family members as I affectionately appreciate the self-deprecating and sarcastic nuance of his humor and tender sweet nature of his being”. OCM 8/07 Set List: "We're All Just Babies in Our Mama's Eyes," "Rothko Chapel," "It's Peaceful Here" "In Love With the Living and the Dead."Listen and See


David Dondero Video; Rothko Chapel

Just Love this song and Dondero! New video directed and animated by Alexandra Valenti and Holly Bronko. Read all my ramblings about this great songwriter.


 Also, see as part of a collection: Hoonan TV YouTube Channel with cool videos from Apollo Sunshine, David Dondero, and The Grouch hosted by Hoonan and Dat Phan. Getting hits and nice exposure for David Dondero's music.


Rants of a Music Blogger

Just another reason I hate mainstream media. The review at of David Dondero's Simple Love really pissed me off. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but to say that the lyrics of the song "Rothko Chapel" are schmaltzy by today's standards and that lyrics like this might have worked well for dust-bowl folkies is unfortunate. I wonder what this reviewer would say about the lyrics of John Lennon's classic "Imagine." The two songs reflect a similar sentiment. Considering the social and political climate today, listening to Folk with something to say is not a bad idea and is necessary.

My religion is in nature, art, and literacy

My religion is in science, music, and poetry

My religion is the mountain; my church is in the seas

My religion is to love you, yet my church is entropy

My relig
ion is in your eyes, but my church ain't organized
My faith is in the sweetness that you might realize
but my faith it could be fiction, my faith could not be smart

My religion is the weather, yeah; my church is in your heart

Complete lyrics of "Rothko Chapel."

It bothers me that thoughtful words can be reduced to a rating or discounted by a catchword. I don't care about Spin .com reviews, they do not influence what I buy or listen to. What is discouraging is that young people who could benefit by listening to music that generates reflection might be swayed by this review.

We are a society of vacant minds spoon-fed in music, education, politics, and religion. We are manipulated daily by our government and the media. The ramifications of the religious right have infiltrated our lives and laws. Religion
is used to justify atrocities, divide people, and encourage hate rather than understanding.

What is so wrong with listening to inspirational lyrics that pose questions and that leave listeners to reflect on their beliefs?
New or old words are powerful. Words and ideas can effect change. Let’s give Folk a chance to matter.
Spread this song around.

Rothko Chapel MP3

The Rothko Chapel website


David Dondero Simple Love - Authentic Songs

Simple love is David Dondero’s follow-up to his 2005 release South of the South on Team Love Records. The title alludes to the unobtainable aspect of seeking and finding simple love. Love is anything but simple, and that dichotomy sets up the disappointment and heartache for those who seek it.

The live quality of this collection of songs lends to the authenticity of the storytelling. The awesome folksy cover art suits the style of this low fi folk/ country / blues and sometimes rocking recording. The sessions were recorded on tape with minimal overdubs featuring David Dondero on guitar and vocals, Craig D. on drums and an assortment of talented musicians exchanging instrument rotation on all ten tracks. One particular standout is jazz pianist Eddy Hovizal. His chops add distinction next to the natural quality of the other instruments.

Dondero is a masterful songwriter and bona fide storyteller. Extolled by NPR’s Robin Hilton as America’s best living songwriters. I agree with his assessment. Dondero’s songs compel me to cry, smile, laugh, and snicker, concurrently. I often feel like he’s one of my family members as I affectionately appreciate the self-deprecating and sarcastic nuance of his humor and tender sweet nature of his being. I find myself chuckling while listening to the final track “Double Murder Ballad Suicide”. The guitar, conga and jazz piano play and interact with Dondero’s eight minute crazy sing / talk story involving a group of friends, a detective and tourists on the Golden Gate Bridge. Ending to my surprise with a quick trickster suicide jump off the bridge. Why am I laughing?

Throughout the recording are lonesome bluegrass sounds, twangy guitar leads, drifting pedal steel guitar and bluesy piano rifts. The sounds replicate the rinky-dink jukebox acoustics in saloons, from the underbelly of small towns and forgotten cities. There in the bar dives amongst the drifters; he’s been ditched, dumped, kicked around and hurt. He pens his misery as he travels from Alaska to San Francisco and to Oakland. His broken heart receives solace recalling the inspirational Rothko Chapel in Houston Texas and gains strength when he yearns for the Mighty Mississippi. He is a forlorn martyr that longs to find the idyllic and unrealistic “simple love”. He seeks eternal love while living life as a hot plains drifter and road rambler. The
lonely path is the one he follows.

I’m so tired / he sings in the opening track of “The Prince William Sound”. In Alaska, he’s had enough of the rugged edges of the world, where the male female ratio is off balance, and bar fights are sometimes the only solution for a jilted lover. He wants to possess the body of his girlfriends new boyfriend so she will make love to him. The rocking chorus picks up the pace but I love you more / than anyone could know / do not know anyone at all.

Dondero describes San Francisco, as the coldest city on earth in the song “When the Heart Breaks So Deep”. Leaving Alaska didn’t change his luck. The steady beat of the drum and electric guitar leads as Dondero masterfully describes the many ways he’s been broken, beat and played out like a fool: / your eggs are runny / because somebody broke out all the yolk/ or / deep butterflies are bleeding in your guts /.

The Rothko Chapel is a non-denominational sanctuary and the backdrop for Dondero to praise the virtues of authentic religious inspiration. He anoints a revered musician and sees the light and power in the church of Saint John Coltrane. He intertwines love with religious philosophy. / My religion is nature, art and literacy / my religion is science music and poetry /…and my religion is in your eyes / but my church ain’t organized /. Dondero highlights his genuine inspiration with a quote by Charlie Parker “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn"

Featuring Piano and soft pedal steal guitar “Simple Love” is a sad and moving song that reaches emotional heights when Dondero’s wavering vocals are complimented by female vocalist Renee Woodward as they sing / I was born for the simple love/ I was worn like a boxing glove / I was torn from the human skies above /. Together their voices have an old fashioned quality found in early country male-female duos. My favorite line is his questioning his exes intentions / how could you say you love him / you don’t even like his music /. This is the ultimate betrayal of a musician.

He revisits the concept of eternal love in Oakland (the city of pain) in the song “Stuck on the Moon”. He sings / I want to contradict the past / want our love affair to last / Ending with the ultimate commitment / you give me thoughts of a baby /. But for him it’s just a concept.

“Mighty Mississippi” is a roaring rock mix with bluesy piano and thunderous drums that glorify his passion for the phenomenal majesty of the landscape. His declaration of love is extreme as he shouts / I’m going down / I like the hu/mi/di/ty!!

There are three topical tracks on the recording. One is “Lone Rose” a fond tribute to a women who is altruistic and kind to vagrants and whose death is questionable. He wrestles with the circumstances surrounding her death. Another is the song “You Don’t Love Anyone”, that describes a superficial woman plumped up with silicone and collagen who is self involved and interested in money. / You’re so beautiful / you’re so beautifully dull /. Finally he is lucky, this shallow beauty is not interested in him, cause he don’t got any money. Thrown into the mix is a traditional folk song like a children’s verse of folklore past, but only Dondero would start a song with I saw a one-legged man walk a three-legged dog.

The songs and the sound of the instruments is straightforward and real. That is what makes this particular collection so fine, and why I love David Dondero’s music so much it hurts, but I’m smiling.

Although David Dondero discography includes six full-length productions, EP's and splits, he is still under the radar, but is blessed with a core group of adoring fans. This touring year has been good, and has given him the opportunity to broaden his exposure, opening for Jolie Holland, Bright Eyes, The Mountain Goats, and this fall for Against Me. Check out his site for upcoming touring date.

David Dondero site
Rothko Chapel Listen
List of Musicians on Recording: Lance Solleck, Tom Heyman, Jonathan Humphries, Ben Howard, Travis Garaffa, Craig D, Eddy Hobizal, Lew Card, Dabid Matysiak, Rene Woodward.


David Dondero, Poetic American Songwriter

David Dondero, the road-wise touring veteran, writes songs about his travels touring and the in-between stops. Dondero has supported his life in music, taking on jobs in towns and cities across America. His life is broader than that of a musician who might experience life in a touring bubble. His lifestyle has come with personal sacrifice, but has guided his voice and is reflected in his outstanding songwriting. It is what makes him stand out from so many other songwriters. The cataloging of experiences that few have had and few can tell so sincerely. 

He is not fearful of taking on topical subjects like guns, religion and politics, and sex. He pens his material like journal entries. Thoughtfully and cleverly flavored with a little tongue-in-cheek tone. Like /I was just a tender chicken in the Florida rotisserie - my own sweats basting me...... or / some decisions are incisions - much too late to make revisions - sorry is just a suture...... and his description of his tour van built-in 1973- fossilized technology... his lonesome longings /liquor - come take her place - miss her- make it erase........One of my favorites is his reference to being a convenience store connoisseur, describing the Zagats of highway travel. 

Listening to his songs, I visualize all the colorful people and places. I am in the song as a spectator, mesmerized by his insightful phrasing, offbeat escapades, and vivid descriptions. The music is in the folk rock tradition but mixed with bluegrass. It is edgy, making them original sounding and not generic. Just when you think you get it, he'll change the timing with an electric guitar part that's atypical of that style, and it works. He sometimes incorporates banjo, mandolin, drums, and horns. The fingerpicking, hammered guitar strings, and quivering voice is always present in his songs. 

I have seen Dondero live four times, twice alone and twice with his talented touring drummer Craig D. I always love seeing him play. It was great to see him energized by an enthusiastic crowd at CMJ Team Love night 2005. He took out his camera to take a picture of the gorgeous audience to send to his mother. He is very endearing. The show was an energetic, high-tapping-clapping-stomping show. In an acoustic show at the Knitting Factory tap room in August 2006, a quieter but very determined singer emerged. His guitar broke toward the end of the set. He borrowed a very small guitar from the previous singer. Seeing his 6'2" frame in a small chair overpowering this tiny guitar was a sight. Then he sang the most poignant song called the Rothko Chapel singing/ my religion is in nature, art and literature - my religion is in science, music, and poetry....... 

He is presently featuring this demo on his myspace site.  I was thrilled that an NPR host Robin Hilton listed him as one of the 10 best living songwriters. Although I don't generally like lists, I was pleased Dondero received this recognition. One very well-written review of Dondero's 2003 release, The Transient, by the writer Gary Glander for Pop Matters, captures the essence of Dondero, the songwriter. I own his full collection and didn't want to use this post to review a specific CD. They all have been a personal obsession, and I cherish all of them. I am looking forward to his next effort. The demos that he has been featuring on his myspace site have teeth, and they bite. The lyrics attack in the political song You Got Love In You. He employs strong and powerful words that remind me of the spirit of early Folk when words could make a difference. Check out his Fall tour Dates Discography The Pity Party, 1999 Spider West Myshkin a City Bus 2000 Shooting at the Sun with a Water Gun 2001, The Transient 2003, Live at the Hemlock 2004 South of the South 2005