A Pre-Existing Condition
By Eileen Tilson
If you could hear a an adult-version of a kids album, what kind of artists would be on there? Bob Dylan? Neil Young? Woody Guthrie? Jawbreaker? OK, cue record scratch, Jawbreaker? On A Pre-existing Condition, the ninth full-length solo effort from highly-acclaimed singer/songwriter David Dondero (ex-Sunbrain/This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb), this has become a reality. The 13-track album features original compositions side by side with Dondero’s interpretation of songs by artists such as Little Feat, Elizabeth Cotton, Charlie Pride, Neil Young, Woody Guthrie, Doug Sahm, Jawbreaker, Bob Dylan, and Jimmie Rodgers.
A Pre-existing Condition, which is Dondero’s first all acoustic album, was recorded just outside Athens with Rob Keller (Six String Drag) on upright bass and backing vocals, William Tonks (Bloodkin) on dobro and guitar and Russ Hallauer (Sunbrain), who also produced the recording, on mandolin and tenor banjo. Other special guests include Clay Leverett (Now It’s Overhead) on harmonies and Ken Will Morton on harmonica. With a clever delivery of some old favorites, Dondero uses his mellow, almost mocking, voice to sing us these old style lullabies. Dondero’s voice holds a certain honesty that even the famous seem to latch on to; longtime fan Conor Oberst says, “It was hearing David Dondero’s voice that made me comfortable with my own.”
Dondero seems to accept his own awkwardness and embraces his quirks. One of the most interesting songs on the album, is the original “Not Everbody Loves Your Doggie Like You Do,” which is the acoustic equivalent, of Cee-Lo’s “F-You,” except dedicated to all the park walkers who think they can hog the whole sidewalk and not clean up after Fido.
David Dondero plays The EARL with Franz Nicolay on March 5.