JOHNNY Dowd is to play The Band Room, Low Mill, Farndale, on the North York Moors for a third time, on this occasion with Dutch singer Melle de Boer on February 2 on their Down The Road Feeling Bad Tour.

"A US Army veteran – he served in Berlin, not Vietnam – Johnny has a removal business in Ithaca, New York, and didn't cut his first record until he was 50," says Band Room promoter Nigel Burnham. "We saw him in York twice, first at the Duchess...with 12 other people. The following year we saw him at the old Fibbers, where he still drew an audience of less than 30.

"We thought we could do better than that and he has indeed attracted bigger crowds here and gone down a storm at his previous two Band Room shows. Now he returns to the venue he was born to play, en route for Tilburg, to complete an early hat-trick of Band Room shows."

Welcoming Dowd back to the North York Moors, Burnham says: "I think of Johnny as the missing link between Captain Beefheart's genius, Tom Waits' eccentricity and Keith Richards' charisma. Brett Sparks, of The Handsome Family, is a big fan of Dowd's guitar playing, and it isn't just me and Brett. Others imagine him no less theatrically."

Dowd is touring Europe in a double bill with cult Dutch singer Melle de Boer, digging deep into the human soul in songs old and new. "It won’t be a sleepy singer-songwriter night," says Burnham. "It will be electric, chaotic, hard and ugly, soft and beautiful. They’ll combine their individual stories to provide a new, unforgettable, unique performance.

"They’ll each do a set of their own songs, then perform a set of unconventionally interpreted traditional songs together. Behind the music will be visuals, drawings, photos. Johnny will be joined by Mike Edmondson, on vocals and guitar, while Melle de Boer will be accompanied by Suzanne Ypma, on vocals, drums and synthesiser."

Both Dowd and de Boer are releasing new albums. "Johnny does his inimitable take on old American songs while de Boer comes to terms with his parents’ separation. Both albums are traditional, but not corny. They crackle with electricity," says Burnham.

Dowd's Twinkle, Twinkle is out on Friday on Mother Jinx Records, featuring such tracks as Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, House Of The Rising Sun, Going Down The Road Feeling Bad, Executive American Folklore, Again and Red River Valley. Details for de Boer's record are elusive, however.

Fawn, rising stars of the York scene, will open the 7.30pm gig; tickets are on sale at Before their Band Room date, Dowd and de Boer will perform at Leeds Brudenell Social Club on February 1 when Loose Music signing Joana Serrat will be the support act on the 7.30pm bill; box office, 0113 245 5570 and 0113 243 6743 or at, and