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Reviews of Laurel Mill

Gods of Music


Sometimes in the reviewing of music, you get lucky enough to listen to a piece of music that that you think could not possibly interest you. You may feel this way based on the instrumentation of the piece, or the genre, or even just the mood of the title. The reason that you turn out to be lucky when this happens, is that when you finally listen, you wind up getting blown away by the sound in a way that changes your perception about certain types of music.

"No Two Ways About It", by Doug Young, is the best example of a playful genre-bending song that I have seen in a long time. This solo guitar piece is a little bit blues, a little bit rock, and a slight hint of country thrown in.

The guitar work is superb, and the performance is solidly handled throughout. As far as the arrangement goes, Doug knows how to keep a piece interesting. One of the things that really grabbed my attention was the walking-bass-against-melody that he does starting at 28 seconds into the piece. At 1:00 minute in, there is a neat variation to the melody that really keeps the piece quite lively. Still yet another variation at 1:55 in makes this tune really cook. I am always impressed when a guitarist can wind up sounding like an entire ensemble (melody, accompaniment, and rhythm), using just one box with six strings.

The recording quality is quite "raw". You will hear all the finger pops, slides, and snaps in this piece but, in this case, I think it actually helps the overall effect of the music by adding to the intimacy of the piece.

The composition is slick, and the music is just good fun. Doug seems to be having a lot of fun when he plays, and the effect is infectious..

Do yourself a big favor and head over to his link and give a listen to "No Two Ways About It".

Bill Wright,  Gods of Music, June 2003

The explosion of solo fingerstyle guitar in the past decade has been nothing short of incendiary. Great players are giving workshops and teaching at camps all over the U.S. and Canada (and overseas), and small-shop guitar makers have sprung up to meet the needs of this growing market. So what do you do if you have found a niche, have some great guitars, and have some time on your hands? Record your own CD. That is just what Doug Young has done on his first recording, "Laurel Mill", recorded at home in his garage where his son’s punk rock band practices. Young has a guitar collection to die for, and he has done something right, because the Wingert and Ryan guitars used on this recording sound absolutely fabulous. The disk begins with a tune "No 2 Ways About It", sounding very much like a cut off Laurence Juber’s "Altered Reality" CD. Then we hear more of Young’s musical ideas, and he has a fine sense of melody and developing a song. While employing altered tunings (who doesn’t these days?), some highlights include the beautiful "Night Whispers" and a simple, yet lovely arrangement of "Shenandoah". While Young doesn’t get up and stomp, his clean playing lays down some nice listening. He even does passable covers of the Beatles’ "I Will" and "Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac. This is one of the best self-produced initial efforts I have come across, and if proof is in the playing, well, this one’s seen a lot of time in my CD player lately.

© Kirk Albrecht , 2003

Tra tanti chitarristi muscolosi e ipertecnici, fa sempre un enorme piacere sentire una chitarra suonata come uno strumento melodico che sappia imprimere melodie larghe e aperte, senza bisogno di super scale, accordi e diavolerie varie. Doug Young, anche se qui al suo primo lavoro viene dalla vecchia scuola di chitarristi acustici che sapevano esprimere una ballata, una visione lineare con lo strumento. Young sa sposare la tecnica con il gusto e la semplicità senza strafare con accordature iperboliche e con arpeggi inusitati. E' proprio questa naturalezza e semplicità che rende effervescente il lavoro di Doug che riesce,ad esprimersi con eleganza e gusto particolare. Un album di gustose melodie per l'amata sei corde.

Translated to English:

With so many hypertechnical, full-bodied guitarists around, it's always a joy to hear a guitar played in such a melodic way, as an instrument that can impart loose, open melodies, with no need for super scales, chords and other tricks. Although this is his first work, Doug Young comes from the old school of acoustic guitarists who knew how to get a ballad across, making a coherent vision with the instrument. Young knows how to blend technique with taste and simplicity, without going to town on extravagant tuning and unusual arpeggios. It's this naturalness and simplicity that make Doug's work sparkle and allows him to express himself elegantly and in his own individual style. An album of beautiful melodies for the much loved six-stringed guitar.

Bridge Guitar Reviews

"... Doug Young is someone who certainly excels in playing guitar music with intimacy and tenderness."

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" of the better acoustic fingerstyle guitar CDs I've run across in a long while"

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Wind and Wire

"...This is unpretentious yet sometimes adventurous music, so guitar aficionados should enjoy this as much as the more casual fan of the instrument..."

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