River Boise presents Mike Doughty live at The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St. in Downtown Boise) at 6pm Wednesday, Nov. 16. This is Doughty’s only show in Boise on this tour! As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages.
ABOUT MIKE DOUGHTY
By his ninth solo album, The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns, you’d figure Mike Doughty would have slipped into a comfortable pattern, but he’s just not that kind of artist. The former frontman of Soul Coughing is obsessively, constantly driven to sound new.
The title is pulled from a WTF! podcast, on which Doughty’s old buddy Marc Maron used the phrase, somehow, in reference to chewing nicotine gum, in his struggle to quit smoking. The two go back to the East Village comedy scene of the late ‘90s, so when Doughty asked Maron if he could use the line as an album title, the comic responded, “Use it and throw me a bone.”
The record is Doughty’s third collaboration with Queens, New York, hip-hop producer Good Goose, and the two collaborated long distance after Doughty left his longtime New York City base behind for the “fascinating, mysterious town” of Memphis, Tennessee.
Influences for the tracks vary wildly — and not just because Good Goose was, Doughty says, “going through this kind of unexpected heartland-rock phase.” The song “Brian” comes from a beat called the guaila that Doughty heard in a nightclub in East Africa. “Sad Girl Walking in the Rain” was the result of a “Week of Six Sad Songs” songwriting challenge Doughty self-imposed while touring the U.K., writing and recording a daily song, most with “sad” in the title.
Doughty is always coming up with self-imposed songwriting challenges because he’s the kind of artist who is not afraid to push himself to work outside of his comfort zone and take risks. Fortunately for listeners, those risks seem to consistently pay off. In the case of The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns, those risks result in a charming, elegant, and ultimately timeless record.