In ‘Nashville Radio’ Punk Journeyman Jon Langford Pays Tribute to Music Icons, on Canvas

Nashville Radio by Jon Langford
La Fiambrera Art Gallery and Bookshop, Calle del Pez, Malasaña, Madrid
Through June 7


While on a jaunt through Madrid’s hip but unpretentious Malasaña district last week, Danijela and I happened upon an excellent portrait exhibit of rock and country music icons by musician and artist Jon Langford at the delightfully funky La Fiambrera Art Gallery and Bookshop [Facebook] [Twitter].

Langford, a Welshman who’s been based in Chicago for more than two decades, is best known for his melding of folk, country and punk with the bands The Mekons and The Waco Brothers. That panoply of styles is well represented in the works included in ‘Nashville Radio,’ an exhibit that also illustrates what an exceptionally accomplished painter the 57-year-old Langford is.

Johnny Cash, above, has a strong reverential presence among the works – as well as in the exhibit’s soundtrack loop that left me humming Ring of Fire during much of the rest of our afternoon stroll around Malasaña.

With all due respect to the man in black, the portraits that I found most engaging and compelling were those of Lou Reed, Joe Strummer, Patty Smith, and Thelonious Monk, seen below. The Reed and Strummer portraits were more contemporary representations, while the latter two were portrayed closer to their prime. If I had the opportunity, I’d like to ask Langford why.

A painting of the cover of Sandinista, my favorite Clash album, was an especially nice treat.

I didn’t jot down the prices, sorry, but as I recall they were all about $400 apiece. Sorry too for the lacklustre quality of the photos, all snapped with my Samsung Galaxy. They do nonetheless transmit the general gist of Langford’s excellent work. Enjoy.


Even if you won’t be passing through Madrid prior to the end of the first week of June, La Fiambrera –lunchbox in español— should be among your Malasaña destinations the next time you are in the Spanish capital.

They stock a great selection of art, design and music books, locally-sourced works of art, as well as paintings and limited edition prints by local and international artists. There’s great coffee of course, live music in the evenings on most days, and it also plays host to a popular weekend brunch. In many ways, it’s a very nice model for the still non-existent café /gallery /bookshop /food space that this blog is named after. I’m already looking forward to our return.

Lou Reed and Joe Strummer by Jon Langford Rock portraits by Jon Langford in Madrid Thelonius Monk by Jon Langford

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