Dollar Fox
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Dollar Fox

Kansas City, Missouri, United States | SELF

Kansas City, Missouri, United States | SELF
Band Americana Folk

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Music

Press


It’s folk. It’s jazz. It’s rock. It’s pop. It’s really damn good is what it is. - Michael Byars - The Mailbox Show #70


Dollar Fox, a fine local band with a low-key Americana sound, commanded the stage next and worked through a fine set that left us wanting more. Be sure to catch them February 4th at recordBar. - Present Magazine


Tommy Donoho writes songs that sketch the familiar edgy geography of places like the Missouri River, the house around your corner, roads, this city; the Bottoms on up top and west to the Flint Hills. I’m glad Tommy and Dollar Fox stay close to home with their art, but I suspect that the tugging kinship of Nashville and Austin and roads in-between will see Dollar Fox taking this sound and their stories on a few journeys.

That’s OK. Foxes are territorial and this Dollar one seems anchored to Kansas City but with a long chain. Their release party, this past first Friday at the Good Ju Ju was really good. They played amid the vintage furniture, brick-a-brack, the bricks, with weird green balls hung over them. They shared this album of eight songs for the first half of the show. Sangria in big pitchers, spicy dip, cheese, Tommy’s Mom smiling and swaying in the front row, kids runnin’ around, and the warmth of a ton of friends. They ended with a fun cover of my favorite river song, "London Calling"...we do "live by the river" after all. Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust, thankfully.

Recorded at the “Good Ju Ju” in the West Bottoms, their new release Close to Home has a crisp sound that reeks of the dusty bricks in the old Columbia Burlap building that built bags for all of that Kansas wheat flour. Try to label this music, if you can. I think T Bone Burnett and Jim Lauderdale would find this authentic taste of familiar Americana vintage young wine fresh for sippin’ from a front porch with a whiskey chaser and a half a pack of cigarettes without a filter.

Music can be too filtered, the sound too mastered. Produced, recorded and mixed by versatile Dollar Fox band member, Justin Perry and mastered by Patrick Meagher, these eight songs have an authentic sound; no tricks, no affectation…just “look-you-in-the-ear” honesty mixed with courage. The poetry comes through clear with Tommy’s vocals and the band blends like delicious warm stew. Pass the whiskey, but don’t pass by Dollar Fox. Give their new record a spin.
We let that old record spin
Again and again and again…
Let all their words
Say the ones we couldn’t find
…this is my favorite part…
Listen close and you can hear my heart

From "Words in the Dark" by Tommy Donoho
Dollar Fox is Ethan Taylor, Justin Penney, Nick Dothage, Ryan Watkins, and Tommy Donoho III. This album is dedicated to the memory of their fan, Jerry Donoho. - Present Magazine


“Close to Home” was one of the best releases of 2010. If this is their calling card, you should definitely let them into your life. - Barry Lee, Host of Signal To Noise on KKFI 90.1 FM


Fans of good ol’ fashioned, countrified rock ’n’ roll will find a lot to love in Kansas City band Dollar Fox’s “Close to Home.”

It’s easy for a listener to catch himself singing along with the choruses of songs like “Say My Name” and “Caroline” upon the first listen. The album only gets better with repeated spins.

Recorded in the West Bottoms among the assorted stuff at Good JuJu market, the eight songs on “Close to Home” have a pleasing live, there-in-the-room feel. A comfy, familiar vibe fills the songs, which fit the tag “alt-country” well enough.

The band adds nice, unexpected touches, most notably the accordion. The use of the instrument approaches zydeco in places, but removed from its typical genre associations, the accordion is strangely refreshing in these songs.

A few other sonic surprises show up. The tuba near the end of “Little White Pills,” for example, adds a nice twist to the tried-and-true country/rock paradigm.

What makes “Close to Home” great is solid songwriting, performed by a skilled group and recorded well. Something about traditional, American, roots-inflected rock — the kind that reeks of whiskey and cigarettes — just works. Dollar Fox continues that tradition as well as anyone, and better than many bands mining similar territory. An undeniable amount of heart permeates this record, even in the liner notes.

Put simply, “Close to Home” is as enjoyable a record as many local music fans are likely to hear.

- Ink KC


Discography

Close to Home (2010) - LP/CD - Frequently played by multiple DJs on 90.1 FM, Included in "The Mailbox" podcast

Big Rock Candy Mountain/Spike Driver Blues - 7" Split Single with The Peculiar Pretzelmen - Frequently played by multiple DJs on 90.1 FM, Included in "The Mailbox" podcast

Photos

Bio

The music stopped. The applause started … And for that brief moment, one song into their first show, the boys let out a sigh of relief and looked at each other as if to say “you know … I think this might work.” And it’s those seven words that have defined Dollar Fox ever since.

With a willingness to try anything once, this five-piece band from Kansas City is an amalgam of everything they love about music. It’s a philosophy that becomes abundantly clear every time they play. And with five members who share twice as many instruments between them, the first thing you’ll notice is this is a band that doesn’t like to sit still. It’s a band without rules, pretense or expectation. They play music they love … their music … and they play it the way they want to hear it. They don’t believe in labels or boundaries. They don’t try to be what they’re not. They’re just five musicians who respect the song as much as they respect each other. They’re ordinary men who write and perform songs with their hearts, their heads, their hands and feet. They play music because they have songs that need to be sung. Songs of love, loss, friendship and family. Sweetly crafted songs served with a dash of bitters. And they play this music with each other because they seem to be the only people in the world who understand exactly what these songs need. Most importantly, they’re always willing to see what doesn’t work to find what does.

Dollar Fox is Ethan Taylor, Justin Penney, Nick Dothage, Ryan Watkins and Tommy Donoho III. As of the writing of this bio, they play accordions, banjo, bass, drums, guitars, mandolin, piano, upright bass and vocals — though should the need arise, they’ll add more. They all play whichever instrument they feel like. They all sing. And they all make the music exactly what it is … theirs.