“THE ASCENDING MASQUERADE
No doubt Jerry Dowell has done the itinerant troubadour thing for a good long while. How else could he channel the swinging acid pop of latter-day Los Lobos ("Detachment," "Guitar Blues," "Thelma James"), the acerbic loveliness of Bruce Cockburn (it is good fortune for both us and him that he pronounces it Coburn) and James McMurtry, ("Feel Good Town,"), or the late-night navel-gazing tenderness of Jackson Browne and Mark Cohn (the opening moments of "Que dulce la Triste (How Sweet the Sadness)?"
Dowell proves himself a unique voice in the wilderness, a talented songwriter and singer who commits himself fully to whatever path he sets foot upon with his well-traveled voice and worn but feisty guitar.”
“Jerry Dowell has tastes and abilities eclectic enough to flummox even the most open-minded fan or critic. Although Dowell doesn't stand alone in his stylistic diversity, he's one of a not-overly-large circle of artists whose ability to transverse nearly the whole spectrum of popular American music in the course of a single album and do it with authenticity and depth seems improbable.
Its hard to know whether Dowell is the hardened cynic he sometimes sounds like or a soft-hearted lover of the world who's waiting for things to change, but trying to answer that question while listening to Prelude To Apocalypse proves to fascinating to pass up.”
“On the back cover of Prelude to Apocalypse, Kansas City's Jerry Dowell looks a bit like Toby Keith, all muscles, facial hair and cowboy hat. Sot it's only natural to fear the content of tunes titled "Loaded Gun" and "War Goin' On." But Dowell's views on military matters are anything but reactionary, and his approach to songwriting is even more pen-minded. On Prelude, his second disk, Dowell veers from honky-tonk to loop-driven percussive funk to sax-driven free jazz to doo-wop balladry, treating each genre with respect. His acoustic instrumental interludes birth jangling rockers that sound like R.E.M. playing roadhouse blues. Musically, the album flows so coherently that Dowell's stylistic switch-ups never seem gimmicky, and his rugged, weather-beaten vocals and literate lyrics (The evil that I see/Is the conflict that I find inside of me) communicate the same appealing personality regardless of their backdrop.”
"Jerry Dowell brings to the Kansas City Music Scene what few men can deliver. Perhaps it was the ballad, 'Feel Good Town' which drew me back into the depths of local, grass roots music and Jerry Dowell, as I realized the irony and paradox of life and this small town world in which we live. The stories people tell each other. The way we gather in times of stress and Crisis/(Remember Opportunity, too). Jerry Dowell can hold as well as he can rock. This priority in Kansas City's Music Scene is clearly exposed here. With great Studio Recorded Music, Great Live Music in the Kansas City Area, and a person with a heart which can hold you like no other, Jerry Dowell writes well intended, warming, and sometimes shaking lyrics in order to convey his unique, built from grass roots, perspective. Listen to understand the words I say..."
RainingColors Local Grass Roots Music Review