Donovan Quinn is a singer-songwriter from San Francisco. He’s been on the edges of the burgeoning San Francisco freak folk scene. Vetiver, Devendra Banhart, and Joanna Newsom make that scene “sexy”, but Quinn works just as hard. While Quinn doesn’t have the household name that those three have, he’s been just as active and more prolific than all of those. He’s been part of “the scene” since at least 2001, when he started making records with the band Skygreen Leopards. Eight records in nine years with those guys. There was also a solo side project called Donovan Quinn & The 13th Month. Two records with them. And the eponymous project that has now yielded two albums.
Today’s song comes from the new album —Honky Tonk Medusa. I’m not familiar with the rest of his oeuvre, but in this album, I hear some stuff that reminds me of Paul Westerberg’s solo stuff. Some stuff that reminds me of Summerteeth-era Wilco. Today’s song reminds me of both of those, actually. This is that song:
“We Called Her Slow Snow”
His bio on the Northern Spy Records website, says
The story of the album is one of decaying American cities, Internet age entropy, and equal parts romance and loneliness
Another thing that I’m vaguely reminded of is the solo stuff of Mark Kozelek. Not that Quinn sings like Kozelek. Just that in this song, the strumming is just the way Mark Kozelek would play. I like how delicate that is. I like how restrained the drums are. I like that bit of tuned percussion that becomes prominent at around 0:55. I even like the organ/keyboard/whatever that runs through it.
Honky Tonk Medusa is available from the Donovan Quinn bandcamp page.
He’ll be playing on the impossible to manage Thursday night. He’s got the headlining slot at Five Star, and he’s scheduled to go on at half past midnight. I should be able to make the last half of his set.