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Beware the one-man bands

Since The Slow Poisoner last visited Johnny B's a year ago, he has cut an album, toured the country and alienated a gathering of devout Christians at a library in Kentucky.

The Poisoner, aka Andrew Goldfarb, took his show to the Deep South after making his newest album, "Magic Casket," which features songs about swamp girls, ghosts and voodoo hexes.

This summer, Goldfarb booked a show at a library in Russellville, Ky. He has made a name for himself playing gigs at Laundromats and chainsaw repair stores across the country, so the library stop was no big deal.

Until he realized his opening acts were traditional gospel bands.

"I was doing fine until my song 'Thundering Fists O' the Lord'," Goldfarb said.

"Fists" casts the Heavenly Father as an overbearing straw boss who "keeps his thumb pressed down on the foreheads of humanity all the time."

"That one really divided the crowd," Goldfarb said during a telephone interview from his San Francisco apartment.

At one time, Goldfarb toured with a five-piece band, but decided his personality was best suited for life as a loner.

"It's the only way to avoid band drama," he said. "I agree with all the executive decisions I make."

Goldfarb's creative streak extends beyond music. He keeps himself busy drawing and self-publishing comic books. The comics are highly stylized with a bent toward the macabre and surreal.

"I take time between shows to draw," Goldfarb said. "But I don't have much time, because I drive my own tour bus, which is actually a car. That's another nice thing about being a one-man band."

The latest record finds him reaching into the music of the South. He weaves traditional Creole chants into his mix of roots rockabilly.

Joining Goldfarb on Thursday is fellow one-man jammer Joe Buck Yourself, who splits his time between his solo project with playing stand-up bass alongside Hank Williams III.

"I've seen Joe Buck before and he puts on a great show," Goldfarb said.

The one-man band theme was a instance of serendipity, Goldfarb said.

"I knew I was going to be passing through the area and I like Johnny B's a lot, so I wanted to stop there," he said. "I was surprised to hear Joe Buck was playing the same night."

The pair will join the .357 String Band, of Wisconsin, on Johnny B's stage.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.

The Slow Poisoner, aka Andrew Goldfarb, likens himself to the last Hasil Adkins. - Photo by Jim Ferreira