Touring a Constant Companion for Paisley
Doug Paisley is splitting his time between Canmore and Banff, making two appearances in the Valley over the next few weeks.
On Thursday (Jan. 12), he’ll play a double bill at Communitea Café in Canmore with Matthew Barber. Three days later, he’ll play with Barber and a few others in a band opening for Jim Cuddy at the Banff Centre.
Now touring on the strength of his second album, Constant Companion, the Toronto native is glad to tour with these artists.
“Matt’s the drummer for the shows with Jim Cuddy, and then where we have off days we booked a few other shows,” he said. “Matt’s played out there quite a bit, and he’s quite popular, and like myself he’s a songwriter and performer, so it just made sense to do those shows together and change things up a bit.
“For Jim Cuddy, we’re opening for him, but with the Banff Centre it’ll be with a four-piece band and at Communitea we’ll just be playing solo, or accompanying each other on some songs.”
Paisley has been playing with Barber for almost 10 years, he said.
“With my band, we’ve been working together for almost 10 years now, so we have a lot of mutual understanding, and that’s really important and valuable,” he explained. “And also, touring is a easy lifestyle, but it does have its strains and it’s nice to know that you’re with people that you’re compatible with.”
The chance to tour with Cuddy was an opportunity Paisley couldn’t pass up.
“Jim was very kind and generous to offer to come out and tour with him, and I’ve been listening to Blue Rodeo for decades now, so I’m a big fan,” he said. “And aside from what a thrill it is to play with him, it’s a great way for us to get out and play all these towns in Canada.”
Paisley had his start as a professional musician about 10 years ago, playing bluegrass and country in the Toronto area.
“No songwriting, just performing other people’s tunes and playing in various bands, mostly around Toronto, and then the first time I started touring around and playing my own music was with a band called Live Country Music – also with Matt Barber – and then I did a tour in the States called Dark Hand & Lamplight, with a Canadian artist named Shary Boyle.”
For that tour, while Paisley played music, Boyle would create art on a projector.
“It was actually on the basis of that U.S. tour that I was offered a record deal,” he said. “And that pretty much leads up to what I’m doing now, which is touring with my second album, and this time Maple has put it out in Canada.
“I’ve been touring a lot in the States and a lot in Europe, and now I’m just coming around to touring in Canada as well.”
First and foremost, Paisley’s interest is in songwriting, he said.
“I have a background in traditional country music – more than instrumentation or production than anything else, it’s the songwriting that interests me,” he said. “It’s song-driven music, as opposed to energy or genre-driven music, and that’s the basis for how I work, and everything I do with the band and recording is just an extension of my original practice, which is accompanying myself on guitar.”
That said, getting out and touring is something he looks forward to.
“It’s the polar opposite of a lot of what songwriters spend their time doing, which is being alone and working on music at home,” said Paisley. “It’s inherently isolated and the nice thing about getting out is meeting lots of people and connecting with a lot of people, and sharing your music with them and getting their reactions.”
Coming to Canmore, and especially Communitea, is a chance to reconnect with good people, he said.
“It’s a beautiful venue in a nice spot, and Marnie, the woman that runs it, is just great,” he explained. “You come to appreciate good venues and nice venue operators – it makes the music and experience a lot better.
“After the show in Canmore we went to a fantastic open mic, and there was some really great music going on, so we ended up having a whole second night and having a lot of fun.”
Paisley also had fond memories of playing in Banff.
“It’s pretty dazzling to be in that environment,” he said. “When we stayed at The Banff Centre, there were wild animals wandering around and it was very unique and a bit different from Toronto.”
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