Arthur Dodge and the Horsefeathers blaze a new trail

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Special to the Jounal-World

Lawrence singer-songwriter Arthur Dodge will release his not-yet-titled fourth album in March.

If you mix ginger ale with bourbon and bitters you will get a cocktail known as horsefeathers.

If you throw in Arthur Dodge and his musical sidecar, you get Lawrence band Arthur Dodge and the Horsefeathers.

Formed in the mid-1990s, the five-member group has perfected its Americana brand of music while releasing three CDs and preparing for a fourth. Lead singer/songwriter and founder Dodge hasn't quite narrowed down all the terms that describe the act's style, but he knows what fits and what doesn't.

"I am not really sure what you would call it," he says. "It is really based in the song. It is about the songwriter. The song comes first and then as long as it is good you can go where you want with it."

Lawrence residents will be privy to the group's musical stylings Tuesday when it headlines the first Douglas County AIDS Project benefit concert at Teller's, 746 Mass. The event will feature several local musicians, with all proceeds going to the DCAP.

Raised as the son of a Baptist preacher, Dodge began experimenting with music in his teen years.

"I started playing at 15, you know like everybody else did," he says.

Soon he met fellow music enthusiast Matt Mozier and the boys became a band. Friends since high school, the two formed the obligatory garage bands of adolescence before going their separate ways. Mozier landed a stint with the revered K-State group Truck Stop Love, while Dodge honed his solo and songwriting skills in arena's like Trenton, N.J. They joined back up in 1995 to form Arthur Dodge and the Horsefeathers.

Dodge composes most of the material that the Horsefeathers play. His soulful, bluesy, rootsy music is a commentary on wine, women and song. It's usually the simpler things in life that inspire the songwriter.

"Everything. Waking up. Women, cars, trees, food, jobs," says Dodge of his inspirations. "Sex, pool tables, chairs, sticks."

His musical influences are just as diverse as the topics which inspire them.

"All the guys influenced me," he says. "Tom Waits, Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Neil Young, Dylan of course. I love Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash -- all the old stuff."

Past Event

DCAP Benefit feat. Arthur Dodge / Julia Peterson / Andrew Connor / Jeff Ferrell / Matt Rice

  • Tuesday, December 9, 2003, 9 p.m.
  • Teller's, 746 Massachusetts, Lawrence
  • 18+ / $5 - $7

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Although the artist draws inspiration from the less obvious things in life, there are a few arenas he will not venture into.

"I write about everything but politics," he says. "Very rarely does politics seep in there, just because it is too much work."

Writing almost every day, the frontman confesses to having filled up several notebooks with lyrics that the band has not even flirted with yet. His large repertoire of songs has fueled several previous albums and can be heard on his soon-to-be-released fourth work, tentatively due out in March.

"It is different than any of the other albums," Dodge says. "But if you like the other ones, hopefully you will like this too."

Local music mogul, Jerry Johnson, who is releasing the album under the newly formed Remedy Records, sees Dodge's album as a logical transition for the quintet.

"It is a natural, mature progression from the earlier records," Johnson says. "It shows the growth of the band and an arc of songwriting."

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