David Dondero returns to Iowa City tonight for a show at Public Space One

An evening with David Dondero + Liv Carrow

Public Space One — Thursday, July 13 at 8 p.m.

Photo via David Dondero

David Dondero returns to Iowa City with his “outbound sound” and the ups and downs (yes, he’s “been over- and under-rated”) of a singer-songwriter who has made a career not only on the road, but of the road (processing, performing, and navigating “highway archaeology,” that “snaky stretch of tar” in an average of 175 live shows per year over the last two decades). He joins Davenport musician Liv Carrow for an event cohosted by Little Village at Public Space One this evening at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and are available at the door.

Weaving songs of specific locations (from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Rothko Chapel to the entire state of Florida) and specific people (from Michael Raines to John Ratliff (aka Pied Piper of the Flying Rats)) into powerful and profound contemporary tales—at times prescient (see: “The New Berlin Wall” written in 2013), often self-deprecating (“Number Zero with a Bullet,” “Less than the Air”)—the ever-present and always genuine Dondero sears and solders geography with geopolitics (“Song for the Civil Engineer”), heartbreak with humor (“Not Everybody Loves Your Doggie Like You Do”), depression with redemption (“your heart is like the Rothko chapel/cold dark void yet simple and intriguing/got me believing almost anything”).

The traveling troubadour will bring his craft to the church-basement-turned-avant-garde arts space that is the gallery at Public Space One. Unlike his previous Iowa City visitations which were either too big (opening for a crowd of thousands of bright-eyed Conor Oberst fans at the IMU) or too small (for a handful of people in the too-spacious Mill) this one will be just right: a show for those who admire lyrical craft from a diehard artist, for those who appreciate the art of live performance, for those there to hear their favorite road stories told afresh with a quivering honesty and well-worn guitar, in the presence of a true master songwriter. As if this wasn’t enough, Liv Carrow brings her fingerstyle guitar and a softer (if just as direct) voice to equally exquisite lyrics.

— John Engelbrecht

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 223.