Johnny Dowd makes me appreciate having ears to hear with and a mind to think with. Here is a man who, in a just world, would enjoy the success that more commercial musicians do today; that he does not is a real crime (then again, the world's loss is his fans' gain). His music is deep, dark and thoughtful, but well crafted, like an Alfred Hitchcock film. The tunes take some getting used to, as does his voice, because they cover material not usually associated with today's homogenized and emasculated pop and radio scene. But like most acquired tastes, you wonder how you ever got along without it. He writes music like the moon casts shadows, makes you look over your shoulder, and consider your fate. His albums, including his recent, Cemetary Shoes, deal with topics from the seamy side of life, a portion of the world that is anathema to the Britneys, the Jessicas, and the other pop tarts of music. If you appreciate artistry, thought and challenge, check out the Dowd catalog. Stretch your imagination a little. Take a chance on his music and experience an enveloping warmth that is cognition and emotion melding.