Doug Paisley

  • courtesy of Highroad Touring
  • Doug Paisley

I’ve been a huge fan of the Toronto singer-songwriter Doug Paisley since stumbling upon his terrific eponymous 2009 debut. He’s gotten better and better with time, and with his forthcoming new album, Strong Feelings (due on January 21 from No Quarter), he’s reached yet another peak. His easygoing delivery and melodic sweetness hark back to 70s folk rock—I have no problem imagining him in the company of folks as disparate as Gordon Lightfoot, Michael Hurley, and Mickey Newbury, among others—but Paisley has his own warm sound. The new album features Chicago’s own Emmett Kelly (of Cairo Gang fame) handling lead guitar duties, and on four songs, including today’s 12 O’Clock Track, Garth Hudson of the Band joins in. Yet even with tasteful help from those folks (as well as saxophonist Colin Stetson and singer Mary Margaret O’Hara) it’s Paisley’s lovely, relaxed voice that does the heavy lifting. Thus far in his career Paisley has only attracted modest audiences, but if he keeps making records like this, I suspect that will change soon enough.