Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound Engineering by Patrick Stolley
Water boils and so does David Dondero. The point at which it happens for the North Carolina folkie is lower than most, though the recognition period is extended well beyond normal lengths, though he's anything but a combustible, angry man. He gets keyed up and frothy over matters that are exceedingly important to him. One of them is a glaring black eye of a subject, of a human bloodbath, of the most asinine modern cluster fuck that we can think of. The Sunday newspapers across the nation this morning bannered across their front pages about the five-year anniversary of the Iraq war. Dondero likely saw these packages about the war that doesn't have anything close to an ending date, over some eggs Benedict and a carafe of orange juice and thought nasty thoughts, got well soused up and whipped another set of thoughts and songs expressing his distaste for this new edition of the American-work-going into animated artifacts that lightly bubbled his hot anger, but remained in the pot, never jumping over the side.
He finds various manners to express himself when the tempers flare - because thinking that any of the ideas that he exposes to first light are derived of any pacifistic itinerary is all wrong. They are brought about for introductions, with caps in their hands behind their backs, shoulders bowed gracefully, as polite little tots, not delinquents rife with maladjustment and a full grown mean streak where their manners used to be. They of the ilk of protest songs that the gentle birds would write back during the Woodstock era, when the granddaddy of all illicit wars was spewing and dragging its muddy and sweating self through living rooms and kitchens, overstaying its welcome.
Dondero writes protest songs that feel more like lullabies and crescant moons than barbed clubs and bullet holes, cerebral offerings of gut reactions to death and injustice that reminds one more of The Zombies singing about the time of the season, a time for every purpose, like it or leave it. We can't possibly affect all of the nastiness that claims the bigger world that isn't covered by our own personal insurance or roof. He sings, "Gotta drink the wind that's blowing," and it's a resounding statement though it's a resigned one of defeat. He takes things on the chin. He points out that we're all taking it on the chin - all around us - our control or power of influence over the atrocities of the world, of our own government is as feeble and flimsy as we imagine it to be. We aren't weak people, but play a form of them in real life, no matter how much of a stink we raise about the things we don't agree with. It's unavoidable. Dondero sings like he thinks like an insomniac, drumming up all of his insecurities, all of the desperate, collected information that can serve as the staple of a paranoid diet. Everywhere he turns, there's more of it, but there's confliction in his mind and on record as he's beset by all of the horrors that are bigger than any of us and yet, he still has the ability and takes advantage of the finer things in life - swimming in gorgeous parts of the country, drowning himself in remarkable natural beauties. They are the exceptions to the ire, the things that keep it tame and still maybe help to fuel that disgruntlement.
*Notes from Dondero:*
The songs recorded last fall were mostly new ones -- all except for "Stuck on the Moon," which is on my latest album, Simple Love. "My Fuse Is Lit" can be found as a blank 7-inch in the American vinyl version of Simple Love -- a bonus 7-inch. "Tribute To Buck Owens" is not released anywhere other than Daytrotter . Also, the untitled one, which is now called "All the Fishies Swimming Through My Head."
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