John Doe, 'Keeper' (Yep Roc)

Critical Mass
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Label: Yep Roc

by Rob Trucks

Like the eight similarly country-flavored John Doe solo efforts before it, Keeper is top-loaded. Pivotal opener "Don't Forget How Much I Love You" offers not only a harbinger of high-spirited hooks, but enough romantic reassurance and lovestruck lyricism ("Yeah, we're laughing") for a windows-down roadway rendezvous. After 30-plus years of prolific recording, trailblazing no longer may be an option. But Doe sounds happy -- maybe ?exceedingly so, for a stateside progenitor of punk -- and on his proper path.

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