Strong Feelings

Toronto's Doug Paisley makes deceptively gentle music, full of sweet country-rock melodies and dark poetry. "The future's burning brightly, but it won't last," he sings on "It's Not Too Late (To Say Goodbye)," echoing Harvest-era Neil Young. The Band's Garth Hudson – a key player on Paisley's last LP – returns, with organ clouds that conjure clapboard churches and circus tents. Ultimately, this is an album about music's mysterious power. On "Because I Love You," a poignant duet with elusive singer Mary Margaret O'Hara – see her brilliant 1988 LP Miss America – Paisley observes that songs can travel "through time," adding, "Time has robbed us blind." And so he sings, feeling his way forward.

From The Archives Issue 1205: March 27, 2014