John Doe Forever Hasn't Happened Yet

While he’s still best remembered as co-leader of the seminal L.A. punk band X, even toward the end of that band’s existence in the ’80s, Doe’s songwriting was drifting toward dark and twisted folk and country. In that sense he was ahead of his time, and makes this album sit perfectly alongside the current crop of cowpunks and new traditionalists. Sonically, Forever Hasn’t Happened Yet has a claustrophobic, slightly lo-fi tinge, but it suits Doe’s bittersweet tales of hard lessons learned. The brightest gem is "Twin Brother,” which, given Doe’s love of rock history, inevitably conjures images of Elvis lamenting his stillborn twin, Jesse. Doe also includes several female duets, echoing the role of his former X partner, Exene Cervenka. The best of these is "Hwy 5” featuring Neko Case, who creates the album’s most fiery moment. But it is the dusty moments, as on "Worried Brow,” that makes this album Doe’s most satisfying solo outing to date. Here, he’s totally convincing as the solitary man stranded in a small town, trying to figure out what to do next; a true man out of time. That’s always been my image of Doe, but now it seems he finally has a vibrant solo career to keep him occupied. (Yep Roc)