In Ireland for a short tour, Doug Paisley looks every bit the lonesome troubadour as he takes to the stage with a single guitar and a hand written set list that spans his three solo releases to date.
The upstairs venue is an intimate setting and the audience are here to listen attentively to the songs and stories of this talented artist. He has a very witty and personable style and the between song anecdotes and insights into the inspirations that create the lyrics are both entertaining and telling.
Over 90 minutes, that really fly by, we are treated to some very impressive guitar playing as Paisley weaves rhythm and melody from his left-handed guitar, making the artistry look effortless and fluid. He has a timeless quality to his writing and delivers in a gentle and restrained fashion, both softly reflective and possessing great depth.
From the latest release, Strong Feelings we are given fine renditions of Radio Girl, Song My Love Can Sing, What’s Up Is Down and To and Fro. All the songs explore human relationships and our fragile nature when it comes to loss and making sense of this World.
A number of songs from the Constant Companion release (2010) are also played and No One But You, What I Saw, Bluebird, End of the Day, Come Here My Love and Always Say Goodbye are given a fresh airing, each sounding as new as the day they were first created.
We Weather, Bats and Learn to Lose are taken from earlier recordings and there is also a Gordon Lightfoot cover of Steel Rail Blues to entertain the enthusiastic audience on a night when this artist could do no wrong.
Starter Home is a song about exactly that, the beginning of a relationship that is filled with hope and optimism for the future and this is what sums up the endearing quality of this Toronto musician; a simple understated artist who serves the songs he has created with great conviction and talent. He is always welcome in Ireland.
Review and photograph by Paul McGee