John Doe performs with folk trio Thursday at Levitt Pavilion

X co-founder gets elemental on new solo album.



John Doe, performing at Levitt Pavilion in Dayton on Thursday, June 23, began dabbling in American roots music with X, his seminal L.A. punk band. He has continued exploring those musical elements on solo albums like “Country Club” (2009), “The Westerner” (2016) and the recently released “Fables in a Foreign Land.”

“Fables tend to have a moral and I think the moral of this record is to survive against the odds,” Doe said. “There is so much virtual stuff that goes on nowadays so it’s important to experience things. You’d think empathy would be greater nowadays since everybody has been through some hard times. People have seen chaos and it scares the hell out of them. If you’re afraid, then you can get angry, but I encourage people to take a step back. Stop and think about what you’re doing, what you’re saying and think about the hard times other people are going through. That’s what I want people to take away from it.”

“Fables in a Foreign Land " (Fat Possum Records) is a concept album with 13 acoustic-rock songs concerning a wandering soul in 19th century America.

“I had two or three songs that seemed to be sticking together,” Doe said. “They didn’t have any modern references. Then, when I wrote ‘Never Coming Back’ and it was finished, I thought, ‘Oh, This is good. It could open a record.’ It gave me a real focus for this record. I set it all in the 1890s and it’s about someone who has to leave home and they don’t know where they’re going. They’re trying to find their way and it turns out it has a lot in common with the last couple of years. We’ve been living through all this isolation, loneliness, fear and uncertainty, which you’d definitely experience in that era. It was a lot simpler but very elemental. A literal bear might come and get ya.”

The actor-musician, who returns to the area next month with X to perform with the Psychedelic Furs at Rose Music Center in Huber Heights, is currently on the road with the John Doe Folk Trio.

“I’m excited to do the Levitt in Dayton,” Doe said. “The Folk Trio is perfectly suited for that pavilion. (The Trio) has this cool vibe as if it were a jazz combo but it’s folk music with an edge. The Levitt Pavilion is an organization that’s good for the community. It’s amazing.”

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Who: The 2022 Eichelberger Concert Season presents the John Doe Folk Trio

Where: Levitt Pavilion, 134 S. Main St., Dayton

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, June 23

Cost: Free

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