John Doe is best known as a first-generation L.A. punk, but he's been exploring Americana for almost as long as he's been fronting X. The singer-songwriter spoke to Rolling Stone about five tracks that inspired his moody, folky new solo album, The Westerner. "All these songs influenced my new record," Doe says. "They have the same distance, silence and reverb that remind you of the desert."
Frontman Howe Gelb has a way of turning a phrase that is ingenious, funny and deep at the same time. His voice is so dry, it makes you think of the desert.
Neko sings like she's from another era. This song is lonely and warm. It's got a real aching quality to it.
Calexico represents that Tucson-desert sound. There's a humor in their work. Think tuck 'n roll Chevys and the Latin influence. Plenty of people have followed them.
This song has that Ennio Morricone-style electric guitar with that lonely single-note reverb.
This is an instrumental band. This song gives you that feeling of driving through the desert, looking out and seeing all that emptiness. That emptiness appeals to me.