We kicked off singer-songwriter week here at For The Rabbits yesterday, it’s fair to say that as a teenager I didn’t see the day where I’d be paying tribute to these acoustic wizards, it just wasn’t very cool in the era of The Strokes and Deftones to put a Bob Dylan record on!
My slow metamorphosis into a fan of this sort of thing perhaps began with Tom McRae, his mercury nominated self-titled debut album is largely forgotten these days, which is a great shame. With his emotionally raw tales of betrayal, heartbreak and a touch of light murder he perhaps went onto shape my tastes as much as any. He’s still going making beautiful music to this day, and still going largely under appreciated.
From Tom, I went onto other singer-songwriters. From the country leaning of Ryan Adams, the teenage-angst of Bright Eyes, the anti-folk of Jeffrey Lewis, and yes Dylan. The man largely credited (far too greatly in my opinion) with inventing the whole thing, whether you love him or not it’s hard to not credit Dylan with a lot of the influence (though definitely doff you cap in the direction of Bert Jansch and Woody Guthrie while you’re at it!)
Any music fan will probably have seen one too many acoustic act rolled out supporting someone else, but don’t let the angsty teenage pub singer taint your view too much, there’s beauty in those who are doing it all alone. Be it global superstars like Laura Marling or hardly known beauties like Doug Paisley there’s plenty to love, and I haven’t even mentioned Bonnie “Prince” Billy yet, ahhhhh Bonnie “Prince” Billy!
Well Doug Paisley is obviously involved, and there’s some lovely female vocal harmonies which seem to be a different lady every time they appear, and that’s about it! An interesting fact about Doug Paisley I’ve discovered with my eyes is that he looks a tiny bit like WWE wrestler Triple H, only a lot less buff.
Country! With a touch of alt-country, a smattering of folk and then a bit more country. Not that big, horrible, nashville sort of country pop, this is more the man you found round a campfire drinking a few gallons of whisky sort of country. It’s largely a man with an acoustic guitar, though sometimes there’s a smattering of other instruments and some backing vocals in the mix too.
Toronto, Canada. Which you wouldn’t guess would be a great place to be a country musician, but CBC recently ran an article asking “Is Toronto the centre of the alt-country universe?” so what do I know?
Doug released his self-titled debut back in 2008 on No Quarter the label he’s still with today. He’s now onto full album number 3 when “Strong Feelings” comes out this month, following up his wonderful second album “Constant Companion”
Well by heck it’s lovely. His voice is a honey-dripped little number that’s not unlike Will Oldhams. Tracks like latest single “Song My Love Can Sing” and the gorgeous duet from Constant Companion “Don’t Make Me Wait” are wonderful slabs of folk rock that are the equal of any of the greats of the genre.
It’s not hugely original, he wears his influences pretty openly. It doesn’t have the heart breaking lyricism of Ryan Adams or the wit of Will Oldham, and perhaps three albums in we’d like a little more variety in his stylings. Really though when it’s as gorgeous as Paisley makes it I for one am not going to complain about that
Doug’s third albumStrong Feelings is out January 21st on No Quarter