Doug Paisley, Golden Embers
Warm, wise, honest and insightful
If it’s Leslie Feist’s backing vocals that draw people to this new Doug Paisley EP, that’s just fine — any reason for more people to hear him is a good one. No disrespect to his slightly more famous guest, but Paisley just happens to be one of the best singer-songwriters on Earth, a dusty sage fromTorontowith a caramel-toned voice and a concise, artfully plain lyrical style that peels off one crushing insight after another, devastating in their honesty and reassuring in their warmth.
Golden Embers is a brief, five-song effort meant to sate us till Paisley’s third album drops this fall, but these songs are hardly cast-offs. “Two Like Us,” one of three tunes Feist sings on, features a spare backing of fiddle, mandolin and electric piano, sounding as natural as weather, while Paisley paints a portrait of love in economical strokes: “Take two like us/ Left out to rust/ Your skirt is torn/ My heel’s well-worn.” On the sumptuous closer “Learn to Lose,” Paisley and Feist harmonize bittersweetly, “Longing’s a vice that you can use/ Take my advice and study the blues/ Don’t wait too long/ To learn to lose,” and your heart may well ask how you can live without Doug Paisley’s wise songs.