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Dudley Saunders | The Emergency Lane

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The Emergency Lane

by Dudley Saunders

WINNER: "Best Album" 2009 Outmusic Awards. An album of "surreal, modern folk tales" (Village Voice) in a musical cross between THE DECEMBERISTS and GILLIAN WELCH.
Genre: Folk: Alternative Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Look For Me
3:44 $0.99
2. Love Song For Jeffrey Dahmer
3:32 $0.99
3. The Rain On 8th Avenue
3:05 $0.99
4. Take Me Back Home Again
4:59 $0.99
5. Bad Driver
2:30 $0.99
6. Mushy-headed Kid
6:07 $0.99
7. Side of Sane
4:59 $0.99
8. Jesus Didn't Love Us Enough
4:38 $0.99
9. The Winding Sheet
2:56 $0.99
10. Bina's Radio
5:14 $0.99
11. The Wild Men
3:39 $0.99
12. Seventeen
4:34 $0.99
13. The Wagoner's Lad
1:53 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
This time, some of the worlds most impressive musicians are helping singer/songwriter DUDLEY SAUNDERS climb up from the underground.

On his third CD, THE EMERGENCY LANE, players from the bands of DAVID BOWIE, DUNCAN SHEIK, BECK, PAULA COLE, MARIANNE FAITHFULL, LEONARD COHEN and RUFUS WAINWRIGHT take on Dudley's "post-modern folk songs" (IMPACT). The result is not only an artistic high-point, but a sign that Dudley's long-under-the-radar reputation is finally reaching a "tipping point" in the alternative music world.

With his trademark blend of HANK WILLIAMS country, JONI MITCHELL-jazz and RADIOHEAD-art-rock, the new album's 13 songs chronicle the lives of people living in a state of emergency. Characters range from coal miners (THE WINDING SHEET) to self-destructive teens (SEVENTEEN) to self-hating gay men (JESUS DIDN’T LOVE US ENOUGH), to street whores (THE RAIN ON 8TH AVENUE) and even serial killers (LOVE SONG FOR JEFFREY DAHMER).

But throughout, the harsh lyrics mesh with haunting melodies, and the haunting melodies break against dissonant harmonies – and it’s this kind of innovative songwriting that has quietly made Dudley such a favorite among America's best musicians.

Listen and see.


Like k.d. lang and Laurie Anderson, singer/songwriter Dudley Saunders began his music career first as a critically-acclaimed performance artist - only to find the experimental folk music he wrote for his pieces take over his career.

Described by critics as "surreal, modern folk tales" (VILLAGE VOICE), Dudley's performance pieces were a fixture on New York's East Village scene in the late '80s, combining text, visuals and song. But as he began to merge the music of his native Kentucky with the post-modern jazz and experimental rock he heard at the Knitting Factory, he began to draw an entirely new audience who convinced him to record.


With its emotional tight-vibrato and effortless range, Dudley's voice is often compared to Chris Isaak and Jeff Buckley, and MuzikReviews recently declared it "one of the best voices on the alt-country scene."

The songs, though, operate more in the scene-painting mode of Leonard Cohen/Tom Waits, and tell dark, hallucinatory tales of bohemian life. In MUSHY-HEADED KID, for instance, a frightened man is "merging with the cracking wall/the crack extends into his face/the girls are bickering in the hall/yeah, he says, I guess/you do belong/in this place." Or witness the "buck-tooth call girls on the corner" in THE RAIN ON 8TH AVENUE, "like red-haired roses in the rain/dropped off by a drunken mourner/on the wrong grave."

And musically, emotional art-rock experiments cut through deep-dish mountain melodies and Latin-jazz harmonics. It's a strange and compelling musical stew.



to write a review

RobKast RAdio

Love Them
I have the album The Emergency Lane! Amazing song!! In RobKast 161 I play Truck of the Rising Sun. Thanks

Patrick Boothe

Subtely Swirving in the Emergency Lane
Dudley Saunders is using an amalgamation of all of his strengths on the LP “The Emergency Lane”. He’s a brilliant storyteller. He’s subtle in his lyrics and his choice of phrasing, incorporating “Jesus wants me on my knees” along side lyrics about spitting in Jeffrey Dahmer’s mouth and “butt-f*cking fairies” not merely for shock value, but to further emulate the grit and gusto coming from the protagonists in the stories he is singing in the point of view from.

Subtlety is key among these tracks, as the music is a whisper in it’s folk traditionalist stance. He doesn’t need to scream at you to make you wince at the dirt under the fingers of his song structures. That’s where the beauty of this album is, and why you’ll feel the need to listen to them more and more. In the midst of the urgent stories throughout this album are melodies that are almost unheard of, like the chorus of “Take Me Back Home Again” which almost twists itself inward while vibrating off of Dudley Saunders’ lips.

The thing that makes this album stand out from other similar styles of music, besides the electronic soundscapes, and that makes it stand out from other “out-and-proud” artists, is the emphasis on the “dark side” of the rainbow. The things that you won’t hear on most albums that the gay community gushes over are on this disc.

The songs on here may not be as melodically memorable as the amazing “Billy White Acre Sessions” EP, but they carry the same dignified intensity, as well as integrity that “out” music sometimes lacks by focusing attention on that which they call “love” and “romance”. Integrity, Integrity, Integrity! We need more artists like Dudley Saunders.