We follow the footsteps of the Spanish through the streets of Santiago.
Today I am reviewing Another Last Call by Doug Folkins. You can pick it up on iTunes or here.
Doug Folkins is a New Brunswicker living on North Vancouver Island. His music is clearly rooted in the aesthetics of the East Coast. In the last 9 years he has released 5 albums, and played countless shows. Although I have not been fortunate to catch him live, the 3 bonus tracks on his latest album give a taste of what must be an electric performance.
At the outset I should say that although I do enjoy the east coast/celtic musical tradition, it is not at the top of my regular music rotation. So even though I am familiar with many of the great names, I am not as well versed in that particular indie scene. I do hope that Doug is a good representation because I enjoyed this album.
Another Last Call lives up to its name by being the perfect music for an evening at the pub. His songs have enough punch and bounce to keep spirits high, while providing meaningful lyrics. A song like Streets of Rome (which appeared on an earlier episode of the podcast) belongs with some of the best Celtic music out there. I give him credit for providing an interesting vignette about a trip abroad in an unexpected package. The album contains 10 studio tracks and 3 bonus live takes.
Another stand out track is King Henry’s Good Times. It could be the subject matter, but it’s more likely the catchy beat and sing-a-long melody. I think this track is one of the best on the album and would be the one I suggest you get if none else.
I found that the songs seem to fall into two categories, those about traveling and those about adventures at bars and pubs. I think that works perfectly with the music, and as we all know, a lot of the best celtic music is about drinking. I wonder if Doug would view Another Last Call as a kind of concept album. It’s subject matter does seem to revolve around those main themes.
Doug’s back up group are all very proficient musicians, including some of Spirit of the West, and I was impressed with the rich and professional production, something that is sometimes missing on indie releases. The live tracks (recorded with The Molly Hogans) are also slick and clear.
Overall, Another Last Call is an enjoyable piece of East Coast/roots music. I can definitely hear the influence of country music in these songs. I would recommend this album if you enjoy the work of Spirit of the West, Great Big Sea, or, perhaps surprisingly, someone like Conway Twitty. Doug does a good job of telling simple, yet interesting stories set to solid music. One of the big challenges for someone playing East Coast inspired music is to escape the stereotype of being a St. Patrick’s Day and pub band. I think that Doug is well on his way to doing that. I hope he continues to explore possibilities outside of his comfort zone.
Doug has been recognized by many other podcasters and more mainstream media members. The future is bright for this songwriter. Another Last Call is worth checking out, so get on over to iTunes and preview away.