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Musical year in review- January: Doug Paisley, Strong Feelings

Hey there. I’m Ben Robinson, the Music Director here at CFMU and over the next couple weeks I’m going to be running down my top albums of the year, picking a favourite for each month.

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We’ll kick things off back in January with Doug Paisley’s record Strong Feelings. A band I played with recently; got the chance to open a Doug Paisley show which was super cool after listening to Strong Feelings pretty much non-stop at the end of last winter. Seeing him play guitar live was unbelievable; each lick seemed effortless and even though his mind seemed to be somewhere else, his performance didn’t suffer at all.

That same effortless ability comes across on the record as Doug`s guitar playing shines through in between each lyric. His lyrics tend to occupy a familiar romantic territory but there is something in his delivery that breathes new life into songs with titles like “Our Love”.

The real beauty of this record in my mind the rich soundscapes that fill this record out in a way that his previous records seem to lack in retrospect. One of the first things that attracted me to this record was the star studded guest list. Garth Hudson of the band sits in on keyboards which lends you about as much credibility in Canadian roots music as a guest can. Hudson`s parts provide a beautiful counterpoint to Paisley’s guitar work.

The guest vocals of Mary Margaret O’Hara on tracks like “What’s Up Is Down” lend a beautiful conversational tone to some of the slower ballads, really bringing Paisley’s love songs to life. The way O’Hara drifts just a fraction of a second behind Paisley gives the songs and even more intimate and spontaneous feel to them.

After listening to countless records this year, the hooks of these ten songs have somehow managed to stick around in my head, undoubtedly because of Paisley’s expert performance.

If you’ve never heard of Doug Paisley before, give him a listen below:

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