WE’RE EXTREMELY PARTIAL to a spot of Doug Paisley here at MOJO. Andrew Male’s 2008 review in the magazine of the Toronto-based singer-songwriter’s debut solo album lauded its “eerie power and strength”, and yours truly gave his last full album, 2011’s masterly Constant Companion, the maximum 5 out of 5 stars before concluding that “an anti-star is born”.
Paisley’s handsome, careworn voice and stoic acoustic guitar amble return this month with an outrider for a third album, Strong Feelings, arriving in the shape of this live video for What’s Up Is Down. The film actually documents the song’s original recording – on location in the lobby of Ottawa’s National Arts Centre – and features regular collaborator Garth Hudson (of The Band fame) on Glenn Gould’s piano, no less.
It’s a magnetic performance of a beautiful song, with Hudson hunched like a Wild West Wizard and Paisley more than ever resembling David Warner’s rogueish Reverend Joshua Duncan Sloane from Sam Peckinpah’s The Ballad Of Cable Hogue.
But it’s actually at the sparser end of the forthcoming Strong Feelings, as seasoned Paisley-watchers will note fuller arrangements featuring contributions from The Cairo Gang’s Emmett Kelly, bassist Bazil Donovan, drummer Gary Craig, keyboardist Robbie Grunwald and vocal support from elusive Canadian songstress Mary Margaret O’Hara.
Paisley concedes: “It’s a lot less simple and unadorned than other recordings I’ve made, but it’s just as earnest and straightforward as what I’ve done before.”
You’ll hear more of it on MOJO4music anon, in advance of an official release through No Quarter on January 20, 2014.