By July 8, 2014 Read More →

AcousticView -Profiles in Philharmonic Poetry

Acoustic View By Aaron Rowan

Profiles in Philharmonic Poetry: Chris Doud

Them old-time country songs sure have some hilarious titles, don’t they? ‘If I Can’t Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You’ by Mel Tillis comes to mind. And don’t forget Roger Miller’s classic ‘You Can‘t Roller Skate In A Buffalo Herd.’

Perhaps it was tunes such as these that inspired the creators of the 52 Week Club to introduce a recent theme like ‘No Makeup And A Messy Pony.’ Based out of Oakdale, The 52 Week Club has been a great creative songwriting collective for the past decade (July 4 marks the ten-year anniversary of the first week’s theme.) It has members scattered all over the country, including many in the San Joaquin Valley. A new word or phrase serves as the basis for a song assignment each week. At www.heckabad.com/52 you can read a list of themes going back to the beginning. I was not entirely surprised to find that some of my favorite pieces by several of my favorite local players have been sparked by a 52 Week theme. The club was originally founded by Will Taylor and Tom VandenAvond, both masterful songwriters; but another of its earliest members, Chris Doud, gets my vote for the finest lyricist in the greater Modesto area.

When not busy co-fronting the finest Americana/country band in our area, The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit, Mr. Doud can occasionally be found sharing his solo material with audiences here and there. Chris crafts lyrics rife with visual imagery. He even took poetry classes during college as a way to improve his songwriting. Lyrically, Chris draws from the work of Bob Dylan, John Prine, Paul Simon and Leonard Cohen, to name a few. Musically, his influences are all over the map, from the folk music he was exposed to in his childhood trips to the Strawberry Music Fest, to the sounds of U2 and The Pixies in high school, to the eclectic acts featured on the Dr. Demento Show.

Chris has cut 5 solo records, comprised almost entirely of 52 Week songs; and was featured on the Portraits album released by Off The Air Recordings a few years ago. His own independent label, Heckbad Records, has handled albums by a number of local Americana and country favorites: Cole Thomason, Tom VandenAvond, Will Taylor, and of course, The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit. In 2013, Chris shared the MAMA Singer/Songwriter award with Will Taylor and Joey Essig for their collaboration on the children’s CD ‘Color This Album.’ His most recent solo record ‘Story Song’ (his first since the formation of the GLTSO nine years ago) is a beautiful collection of mostly mellow country-folk tunes, which I’ve been listening to most every day for a couple weeks now. You can have a listen at heckabad.bandcamp.com.

A few of the acoustic happenings this month: Tuesday 7/8 – Country quartet The Dustbowl Children appearing at the Stanislaus Grown farmers market at 2150 Yosemite Ave. Market runs 3-7 PM, band plays at 5 PM.

Thursday 7/10 – a panel of area musicians including Patty Castillo Davis, Delanora Green and MoBand director George Gardner will explore the question of how to balance access and excellence in the arts. This free public forum, moderated by the editor of the Modesto Bee, will be held at McHenry Museum (1402 I St.), starting at 5:30 PM.

Saturday 7/12 – SoCal folk songbird Josephine Johnson shares the stage with Modesto’s Black Velvet Band, who’ll perform classic tunes from the 1960’s and beyond. Show is at Barkin’ Dog Grill, 940 11th St., starting at 7 PM. $5 cover.

Friday 7/25 – Ethereal songwriting duo Mark Lemaire & Twilight give a free concert in the 10th St. Plaza, 7-9 PM, offering up beautiful harmonies and intricate instrumentalism. Brave the heat and enjoy a special treat.

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