Don’t you remember when music made you feel something? Doug Paisley’s new album, Constant Companion, certifies the singer-songwriter as a navigator of human emotion. The first flicker of music will lure you in and take you on a winding journey leading in and out of darkness that it bears. But don’t be alarmed though the journey is well worth it.
Doug is a plainspoken oracle of the highest water, an old-fashioned reporter of the heart; the truth that comes out of his mouth flows like the proverbial mountain creek but hits like the proverbial avalanche. And these are the sort of proverbs you were forced to forget the moment you were born. You need reminding, we all do; everytime you take a punch you need to be reminded of the sun and the moon, and the earth and the sea, and other transient states. Doug reminds us of what we're made to forget. He's been through the dark places, walking, riding, driving. It ain't always about the way out. More often it's just about the way on. He traces out those pathways with just a curl of his lip, that bow-and-arrow picking, and words of elemental elegance.
And with all that, please know that Constant Companion isn't a sad album. It's just kind of about sad things, and how we carry them around. And anyway, once you look at them in Paisley light, you realize that there's less sad to it. Stuff just is. Things fade out and others always fade in. Fundamentally you’ll find that Constant Companion is about love.
Doug's music is also a magnet; don’t try to resist its pull. A lot of good people were pulled into this project like Garth Hudson of the Band, who played keyboards (now there's a sound you'll know when you hear it). Leslie Feist sings on two songs too: "Don't Make Me Wait" and "What I Saw." He's also got Julie Faught of the Pining singing on three tunes, another Toronto friend, Jennifer Castle, on three more and Bazil Donovan of Blue Rodeo on bass. Everything is in its place from sky to sea, every note, every blade of grass. The album's a love letter to you and your Constant Companion. You should try being nicer to each other.