doug tielli

Apparently, Karesley is somewhere near Coventry. Singer-songwriter Doug Tielli missed his flight back to Toronto, and stayed there, walking his dog, painting, interacting with strangers, revelling in the beauty of the place (yes, really) and most importantly recording this album.

Tielli’s description of his time spent in the Midlands accurately reflects this unhurried and laid back, earthy even, album. ‘The magic of Keresley is not of the surface. Those fields under all kinds of skies are always wonderous. The grass got long, and filled with wildflowers, and purple grasses, the sky rolled with low, heavy clouds, and occasionally sun, flitted with birds. Fathers and sons old Scotsmen… everyone with a dog… would share a few words and stories with me from time to time.

When the grass was tall enough – in June or so, I lay down, fully hidden to any who passed by… though I did worry that I would be spotted somehow, and thought unusual – which I am and am not at the same time, you know what I mean.

This appreciation of nature, and watching the world go round from a strangers outlook, and a rather eccentric stranger at that, permeates both the sound and especially the lyrical content of the album, with descriptions of nature, and stories of the wind, the trees and the skies fill the album with this vaguely hippy outlook.

At its best, the album lilts and rocks gently, almost like a hammock deep within Tielli’s countryside, and the music itself is littered with a myriad of unusual influences and colourful textures and instrumentation. His use of multiple trombones gives the music a dark modern big-band feel in places, but also apparent are African and even latin elements, soul and a large dollop of British folk. His voice, especially on tracks such as opener Water Falls is angelic, but also slightly smokey and throroughly soulful, but essentially Tielli is a folk singer.

The album is punctuated with two long songs, ’Oak’ and ‘being mist’ which on occasion seem to meander, remain static even for periods of time. It makes it almost stifling listening at times, but is probably what Tielli imagined when lying down in the grass. It just seems that he likes to lie and watch the world go round for a bit longer than I do. But there are many other moments through the album where he judges the atmosphere just right, and it allows you to wallow in your own thoughts.

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Overall. I never imagined anywhere within the short confines of Coventry to have the beauty to capture the imagination, or the willingness to sit and enjoy its surroundings for a while. Seems I was wrong.