Published Jan 17, 2014Toronto's Doug Paisley is simply one of Canada's finest singer-songwriters. Possessed of a weary, wizened voice and an unfailing sense of melody, Paisley writes and performs songs that have the magical effect of sounding lived-in and familiar on first listen.
On Strong Feelings, his best record yet, Paisley has crafted a nearly perfect Americana album. Working with a band composed of Bazil Donovan, Gary Craig, Emmett Kelly, and Robbie Grunwald, and featuring Mary Margaret O'Hara and the inimitable Garth Hudson, Paisley could easily have found his delicate songs overwhelmed. Instead, these terrific players have lifted the material even higher; their interplay on tracks like the jazzy "What's Up Is Down" and the rocking "To and Fro" is simply irresistible.
But above it all remains Paisley's majestic voice. Warm, wise, deep and wide, Paisley somehow projects all of the road-worn lassitude of Kris Kristofferson while retaining the ability to croon like Dwight Yoakam. It's an extraordinary instrument, and he uses it on Strong Feelings to stunning effect, especially on "Radio Girl," the tremendous opening track.
Here's the album for your long dark winter, your crackling-fires, your red wine make-out sessions, your blissed-out reverie. Here's one of the best records you'll hear in 2014. (No Quarter)