One of the most talented underground singer/songwriters I’ve come across over the last decade is Gregory Douglass. His vocal gymnastics emphasis heartfelt songs along with his piano chops making stand out melodies. Douglass often puts out a live album release concert for his fans but with his latest album “My Hero, The Enemy” the release party concert was possibly the most lavish to date. Expertly recorded in both video and audio versions, it showcases a talent many more people should be championing.
The new album features heavily of course and is played in its entirety. A full band is on hand to shepherd Gregory through it with the usual keyboards, guitars and drums. Three others really elevate the soundscape and recording though. The first is a special guest percussionist whos works the marimba like a beast – shining particularly in the track “Point of View” which a symphonic pop-rock anthem. It adds warmth and that’s built on with Lisa Picarillo offering excellent backing vocals throughout. An established singer-songwriter in her own right, she knows how to milk every line for what its worth as a compliment to Gregory’s voice. The third added layer of genius is Monique Citro’s electric cello. She shines when the cello is given space to breathe, most notably with “From Now On”, “My Hero, The Enemy” and the absolutely stunning rendition of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” which is understated initially but swells into a hugely dramatic finale. Outside of the new album tracks, there are a few classic tracks such as “Hang Around”, the swinging showman like “Day of the Battler” and personal favourite “I Wanted to Run” which is a pop-rock gem.
Whilst subtle the entire album of “My Hero, The Enemy” feels wider and rockier in this live setting and the musicians all have the talent and expertise to carry off studio performances seemingly effortlessly. It’s a testament to Gregory Douglass’ vocals that he can absolutely nail about 3 octaves worth of notes and still be able to rock it out with the rest of the band and there’s not a duff note in sight. Personal highlights from the live show from the new album are “The Garden” and “The Lion Keeper”, which both feel extra broody with crunchy guitars and bass lines (the latter giving me serious 80’s rock vibes], the mild country tinge of “Complain” that lilts beautifully every chorus, the achingly beautiful title track and “Enough of This” which are what ballads are made for, and the superb finale of “The Great Wide” which feels epic in every sense of the word with its foreboding but uplifting closing section. Live from the Chapel shows a musician and a performer that not just knows their craft inside out, but owns it too. A stunning treat.
Recommended track: Point of View
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