Johnny Dango - "I Was Wrong" (audio) (premiere)

by Jonathan Frahm

27 June 2017

Dango deftly fuses Americana sentiment with an added layer of psychedelia on this reflective track.
Photo courtesy of artist 

Whether it’s across the flatlands of his hometown of Stillwater, OK or through the hustle and bustle of Austin, TX, Johnny Dango has been a hard-working modern troubadour anywhere the world has taken him. Having played alongside the likes of Stoney LaRue and beside such artists as Billy Joe Shaver and Jerry Jeff Walker, Dango has put in his dues with the best of them as a country bluesman before pursuing a solo venture along the lines of psychedelic folk rock.

His latest single, “I Was Wrong”, plays along the lines of the legends he’s played along with, but with a cosmic overlay that all feels like a reflective honky-tonk in outer space. Dango says of the track:

“‘I Was Wrong’ says that even a cynical, jaded bastard such as myself can have his whole world turned upside down by a woman. So, it’s about admitting I was wrong about a lot of things in the context of relationships. A straightforward country song seemed to be a trusty & reliable vehicle for expressing it simply, while also asking the important questions—why do people cling to fairy tale notions of love? Why do so many girls go for scumbags? Why do I always feel like I end up getting burned by love, especially when I can admit I was wrong and my ladyfriend was right? Unfortunately, I still don’t have many answers and thus remain a cynical, jaded bastard.

I have a pal who’s bound and determined to write a string of absolutely gut-wrenchingly god-awful, horrible, terrible and incredibly catchy country songs so he can sell them to the Toby Keiths of the world and get stupidly rich off of people’s poor taste. ‘I Was Wrong’ really started as my answer to a few of his finer numbers, like ‘God & Delta Airlines’, ‘Beer Thirty’, ‘Whiskey Christmas’, and ‘The Rambling Mesothelioma Blues’. Once I started writing the lyrics, though, some actual honest feelings about my ladyfriend crept in, because I hadn’t been in a serious relationship in quite a while and didn’t really want to be in one, either, and then it had just sort of happened. So the song became a lot less of a joke, even though that rhyme of loyalty/royalty manages to keep it somewhat comedic for me. And the relationship ultimately crashed and burned, and that’s just hilarious, too. When I got around to playing it for people, a few of them told me it was a nice song, and I should record it. Otherwise, it might have remained a backyard neighborhood jam.

As far as recording ‘I Was Wrong’ goes, I just wanted to live in that world of 1970s smooth AM country gold for a little while. I think I sometimes subconsciously write in rhythms and sounds I’d like to hear while driving long distances. To me, the tune is rather formulaic, but then I also happen to think that the formula is a pretty good one, and I’d personally rather hear this kind of country music than the swill Nashville is currently churning out. But, I guess it’s easier to sell hick hop songs about trucks and tractors and rivers and parties to the bedazzled jean zombies. Maybe the MXR Phase 90 is the ultimate bedazzled zombie weapon. I don’t know. It’s done a good enough job of keeping them away from my shows.”

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