In the singer/songwriter vein , this is an all acoustic deal with Doyle handling all duties - guitar, sax, vocals & songwriting.
The soul of a poet, I highly recommend it.
- Linda Swain, VOCM
It's refreshing and thought provoking.
- Brenda Silk, Radio NFLD
An acute observer of human interaction with accomplished guitar work providing plenty of texture to Doyle's deep brooding voice.
- Stephanie Porter, The Independent
A great selection for lovers of Leonard Cohen or Tom Waits. His guitar stylings are superb, perfectly aligned with the lyrics. An excellent first release.
- Karla Hayward, The Telegram By Stephanie Porter (St. John's)
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Right off the top, Adrian Doyle characterizes himself as a drifter, a lifelong traveller, a panderer to his peripatetic propensities. This self-description fits the first impression -- and the music Doyle has just made public for the first time.
The soft-spoken Doyle seems contemplative and comfortable, both in his own skin and in his home, surrounded by a wide variety of books and instruments. He admits his transient life has led to certain compromises -- he has no kids and relationships can be difficult -- but it has been a conscious choice.
Being a wanderer and musician has given Doyle the freedom to follow his impulses, the opportunity to experience new cultures, and the time to become an avid and acute observer of human interaction.
That's one of the reasons travelling has always been really important to me, he says. Just to see how people in different places deal with the same kinds of things I have to. Everybody's happy, everybody's sad, everybody cries, everybody loves presents ... travelling gives you an education.
As he moved from place to place around North America and Europe, Doyle picked up instruments (and lost a few along the way) and played with a variety of people in different genres of music. Since returning to St. John's five years ago, he has built a reputation for himself as a respected side man and accompanist, showing up on a dozen recordings and any number of bar and club gigs.
Last summer, a new and immediate desire hit. Still at ease -- for the moment -- in the capital city, Doyle suddenly felt the time was right to get his own words and music together. Following his instincts as always, Doyle threw himself into his first solo CD project, releasing Manipulation just a couple of week ago.
A solo work in the true sense of the word, Doyle wrote the lyrics and music for the eight tracks. He sings and plays the only instruments on the album: guitar and a splash or two of saxophone.
Why now? Maybe the planets were aligned or something, he says. I've been writing since I was a kid, writing down words or phrases or lines or verses for songs. I kept gathering them up, kept them in a box and brought it around with me for years. For some reason I was compelled this summer to organize it all into a CD project.
Born in Gander, Doyle started playing guitar in bands when he was a teenager. And I have been ever since, in and out, he says. Music hasn't always been a constant thing, but it's been a constant in my mind.
He admits his early days of music were a little different, he cared about getting babes and looking cool, but later on, the music became the thing. The idea was to make magical music, what I consider magical anyway.
I'm not trying to be evangelical about it, you like what you like -- it's like beer. If you like Budweiser, it's good. If you don't, it's not.
After years of constant movement, Doyle landed back in St. John's just after the turn of the millennium. At the time, he decided to focus on playing steel guitar for some reason, and has stuck to that instrument -- in public at least -- almost exclusively.
His apartment tells another side of the story, with piano and guitars, percussion, brass and woodwind instruments around. But in specializing, Doyle has become known, and frequently called upon, for his skill on the pedal steel.
He is perhaps most often seen as a sideman to Ron Hynes, accompanying Hynes' songs and guitar with his own work. He has also played or recorded with the top names in town: Dave Panting, Janet Cull, Mark Bragg, Pamela Morgan, Jill Porter, Sara and Kamila, Neil Conway, Andrea Munro, Cara Coleman and Ray Lake.
Working with ECMA-nominated rockers the Novaks on their debut CD was a particular treat. Pedal steel is not usually associated with rock, people associate it with country, which is annoying, he says. Not that I have anything against country, but I'm not a country pedal steel player.
Just as he's affected by every place he lays his hat, Doyle says he's influenced by virtually every musician he plays with. And while Doyle admits Ron Hynes might be a loose cannon at times, the opportunity to play music beside him for the past four years is a gift.
As an accompanist I tend to play to the lyric; Hynes' lyrics are rich in images for me to react to ... he's a fabulous guitar player, his tuning, his tone, his intonation, just his general approach to music ... he leaves space which I love because it gives me a chance to get in and weave around the music.
Asked to pin down his own musical influences, Doyle pauses, perhaps listening to the sounds of downtown St. John's carrying on outside his window.
I'm influenced by basically every sound I've heard since I left the womb, he says. Any sound really, a motorcycle going down the road or the sound of Mozart. I just hear things musically.
Even with all his experience as a session musician, when it came time to record his own CD, Doyle shied away from the idea of bringing in any guest players.
It just felt right, he says. If a song can't stand up with a solo guitar or piano, it won't stand up with a band. I just wanted to get the songs the way I wanted them.
The result is a quiet, laid back, sometimes melancholy disc ( It's just nice to come home sometimes and put on something that will relax you ), with accomplished guitar work taking as much of the spotlight as Doyle's deep and brooding voice. He's left plenty of space among the notes, creating a thoughtful and calming mood. It's hardly sparse, though, as the guitar work provides plenty of texture.
Because there's only a single instrument there I had to make it as big as possible and it took quite a bit of work, he says. It sounds like there's more than one instrument there ... guitar is a great instrument that way, it has melody and harmony and rhythm.
For all the world observation and word play on the CD, when asked about recurring themes, Doyle pauses again and smiles. I like girls, he says with a laugh. Relationships I guess, the interaction between men and women, I don't think it gets any better than that ... a lot of it comes from just observing people, how a person stands or walks or leans ... those types of things, it's the human condition.