Alt country singer-songwriter Doug Paisley is from Toronto, but he sounds like he comes from the Midwest. His third full-length album, Strong Feelings, is a well-done, gritty record. It was not as rushed as his previous LPs, 2009’s Doug Paisley and 2010’s Constant Companion, so he had time to experiment in the studio. The release features Garth Hudson, who was the former keyboardist and saxophonist for The Band, as well as Mary Margaret O’Hara, a Canadian singer who lends a delightful female voice to several songs, such as “It’s Not Too Late (To Say Goodbye).”
Paisley admits to working on the opener, “Radio Girl,” for several years. The work definitely paid off, and it would not sound out of place on the radio or in the background at a summer barbeque. “Song My Love Can Sing” is a track about losing someone and the memories that accompany the heartbreak. “To And Fro” is an Animals-meets-Springsteen rock song, on which Paisley spent eight years. It sounds the oldest, like a hidden gem off of a ’70s rock record. Featuring O’Hara’s refreshing vocals and closing the release on a light note is “Because I Love You,” which is about the dreaminess of falling in love.
Strong Feelings is an impressive album that gets back to the country roots of rock. It demonstrates that Doug Paisley knows how to write catchy, illustrative songs, and that he can do it in any amount of time. Although he is Canadian, he understands the spirit of American country music, and he justly sings out all of his emotions in a fitting, gravelly voice.