Showing posts with label doug paisley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label doug paisley. Show all posts

Monday, January 27, 2014

video review: 'strong feelings' by doug paisley

Yeah, it's late. Don't care, glad I got this out.

Next up... hmm, not sure yet. Got a few discographies to churn through. There's some stuff I definitely love, and stuff I know will get me a roughly analogous reaction to the Switchfoot review. Fun stuff, so stay tuned!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

album review: 'strong feelings' by doug paisley

So as the only country music critic on YouTube, I tend to get some flack because of my supposed lack of country 'credentials' - even though I've been listening to country for over twenty years and it's probably one of the genres of which I know most. Most often such comments take the form of, 'You're a city boy, you can't understand the appeal', with the frequent follow-up being, 'You're Canadian, you just don't get the music of the American heartland', and then it's followed by homophobic slurs I won't indulge.

But I feel it's an appropriate time to address these oh-so-enlightened individuals, speaking as a guy who grew up in Western Canada with country music: you know there's such a thing as Canadian country, right?

I'm dead serious here. Outside of Nashville and some cities in Texas, the next biggest nexus of country in North America would probably be Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, which has developed its own burgeoning country music scene outside of the US. And it's a distinctive scene with its own flavour and personality that managed to avoid most of the worst trends in country music that came out of the States last year. Acts like Gord Bamford and George Canyon and Dean Brody might not be all that familiar south of the border, but thanks to the Canadian Radio & Telecommuncations Commission (which ensures Canadian content gets a certain percentage of airplay here), they've managed to build audiences out here. Better still is the fact that they've tended to stick with a decidedly Canadian sensibility, which sticks much closer to neotraditional country in comparison with the flashier, more aggressively meat-headed style that exploded in the US last year.

But today, we're not going to be talking about the Edmonton scene, but instead an alternative country act that comes Toronto - yes, my current location - named Doug Paisley (of no known relation to Brad Paisley). His last major release was in 2010 called Constant Companion, and it was pretty damn good. A country artist toeing the line between indie folk and neotraditional country, Doug Paisley stood out for his weary, emotive lyrics that a simple charm in drawing you into his melancholy, which set him above the typical 'white douche with acoustic guitar'. Like with Matt Berninger of The National, his country roots informed the songwriting - but what became interesting was his instrumentation and delivery, both which were reminiscent of the late 70s (and not outlaw country), which was not a great time for country music. It was smooth and polished, reflecting not so much downbeat depression but tired resignation that things might go downhill but he could handle it. And yet even as harsh reality lurked behind the lyrics, there were a lot of rougher flourishes hiding in the instrumentation I really liked - the organ, the piano-driven harmonies, the gentle support of Feist as a supporting vocalist. All of it came together to create a really strong singer-songwriter record that really stuck with me, so I was interested in his newest album Strong Feelings. How did it go?