Playbill: Dave Knudsen’s Mojo Rises

Dave Knudsen, a rank unknown schoolteacher in suburban Los Angeles, surprised the alt-country world with his 2005 debut, The Weeping City. With studio support from L.A. stalwarts like Tony Gilkyson (X, Randy Weeks), Josh Grange (Dwight Yoakam) and Mike Stinson, producer Charlie McGovern’s bare-walls production accented Knudsen’s broken-man vocals and gave his songs of everyday hurts and disappointments undeniable dignity and beauty. On Deep River of My Heart (2006), McGovern and crew deepened the atmospherics as Knudsen brought more melancholic insight to the table on gems like “Going Down the Rapids” and “Ghost on the Roam.” Knudsen and McGovern have just completed a new project, Eaten by Fire, where Knudsen again finds mesmerizing ways to illustrate how couples spawn hurt, and entire civilizations manage to blow it. If you like to wallow in sadness, regret and isolation, this is your man. – William Michael Smith

Dave Knudsen performs at 9 p.m. Thursday, August 2 at Mojo Risin’ Coffee House, 1600 Shepherd, 713-426-1505. John Egan is also on the bill. Knudsen also plays Saturday, August 4 at Salento, 2407 Rice Blvd., 713-528-7478.

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William Michael Smith