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David Dondero

David Dondero is a modern-day troubadour, a minstrel, a bard, a rolling stone, a traveling wilbury -- he gets around, and wherever he goes, he makes music. He's been getting around to odd parts of America, making music -- of a primarily transient, narrative, and acoustic variety, in the tradition of great American troubadours of decades past -- since the early '90s. Originally he did it with a band called Sunbrain, with whom he recorded three albums, before opting to go it alone. Since that decision, Dondero has recorded three more.

Most striking about Dondero's music is his voice -- which isn't the most tuneful, but is confident, varied, emotional, and direct, nicely suiting his musical style -- and his great guitar fingerpicking, which sometimes sounds like it came straight out of the Appalacians, sometimes sounds bluesy, and sometimes even sounds vaguely classical. Other stark instrumentation -- lonesome accordion, harsh echoing percussion, and most of all, lots of fiddle -- connects Dondero further with the American folk tradition. Some songs are rock-minded, some desolate and hushed, some are detached, some extraordinarily confessional, some are twisted, some straightforward, some are happy, and some sad. But all bear the mark of a quality songwriter who knows a thing or two about living.

Dondero's albums since leaving Sunbrain are The Pity Party (1999) and Spider West Myshkin and a City Bus (2000) on Ghostmeat Records and Shooting at the Sun with a Water Gun (2001) on Future Farmer.