Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on May 3rd 2010 10:00AM by Kenneth Partridge
"We're running an informal poll on this tour," Doe said Sunday night at New York's City Winery, introducing the tune 'It Just Dawned on Me.' His question to listeners: Is the song "funny," as he maintains, or "sad," as Exene insists?
Doe wrote 'It Just Dawned on Me' with Exene for 2009's 'Country Club,' an album he made with Canadian rockers the Sadies. The music may be lively -- it has sort of a rollicking, country-hayride vibe -- but the lyrics detail a couple's crumbling marriage. Not surprisingly, the crowd sided with Exene.
The musicians' difference of opinion may have something to do with their history. When they founded X in 1977, Doe and Exene were two young punks in love. They wed in 1980 and divorced five years later, but not before writing a number of tunes about the challenges of being married. One such number, 'Because I Do,' from X's third album, 1982's 'Under the Big Black Sun,' ranked among Sunday's highlights.
As Doe played acoustic guitar, Exene sang lead, showcasing a voice that, over the years, she's learned increasingly how to control. Hers is still an untrained howl, but there's more power and confidence in her delivery than there was during X's early years.
As a harmony vocalist, she's less precise, but the semi-tuneful way she joined forces with Doe on 'Burning House of Love,' the X song that opened the show, continues to define the pair's musical partnership. A musicologist might be able to explain why their harmonies work, but a psychologist would likely do a better job. It's about feeling and intensity, even after all these years.
Other X classics that received the acoustic treatment included 'True Love,' 'The New World' and 'In This House That I Call Home.' On 'See How We Are,' a sober look at racism that is arguably the finest song in the band's catalog, Doe changed the lyrics of the second verse, turning his attention from poor kids selling gum in Mexico to Native Americans hawking blankets in Oklahoma.
Doe and Exene also played songs from various non-X projects, including the Knitters, the country-rockabilly group they started in the early '80s. Had Exene polled the crowd after singing the standout 'Skin Deep Town,' which she wrote about lughead spring breakers in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., "funny" would have defeated "sad."
"We dedicate this to the cast of 'Jersey Shore,'" Doe said.