Doug Paisley “Say What You Like”

Outside Music, 2023

A disappointing return for Canadian songwriter on new label.

Doug Paisley debuted 15 years ago and seemingly just arrived fully formed as a sure-footed troubadour who could be relied upon to produce heartfelt material shrouded in little other than his voice and simple arrangements. And so it continues on this very relaxed album. There is more than a little hint of J J Cale here both in vocal delivery and stylings of the title track and others such as ‘Wide Open Plain’ it is very much an early seventies vibe with sparkling lead guitar and hushed accompaniment. The guitar solo of the aforementioned is pure Cale polished up for a new century. Whereas Rewrite History is more the travelling poet on the dusty road harmonising with another in a dusty truck stop, all picked guitar and Dylan delivery. The harmonies are delicious and raise this from the standard fare of most of the rest of the album. ‘Almost’ returns to the Cale template and although quietly gorgeous this is a well-worn road. ‘I Wanted It Too Much’ sounds like a standard modern Nashville love song that will be surely be covered by a huge star and make Paisley a shedload but to these ears it is too smooth in its production and lacks any emotional depth.

This album is a disappointment as an early fan of Paisley, it seems to lack direction and despite some moments of excellence fails to convince that Paisley’s heart is in it. Shame.


About Keith Hargreaves 378 Articles
Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up
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