John Doe A Year in the Wilderness

Although John Doe first became a household name for punk fans in the ’80s as a founding member of Los Angeles band X, he has since carved out a significant solo career with his sorrowful songwriting, full of dusty whispers and heartfelt ramblings. Now, Doe returns with another set of visionary writing with A Year in the Wilderness. The album offers up a host of guests, including guitarist Dan Auerbach (Black Keys), Aimee Mann, Jill Sobule, and Kathleen Edwards. X’s Exene Cervenka also makes an appearance of sorts, as Doe wrote "Darling Underdog” from a set of Cervenka’s lyrics. There are a dozen stories trimmed in dusty velvet sentiments, jittering twangs and peripheries of abrasion. Doe drew heavily from personal experiences and so the album is laden with barebones confessions and intimate meanderings that speak not only through the lyrics but push the music altogether, as Doe’s expressive vocals and turns of phrase are matched with storms and soft hushes. It really does play out like Doe has spent a lot of time in the metaphorical wilderness. Luckily, he found his way out long enough to cut the record. (Yep Roc)