Gregory Douglass, Up & Away | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Gregory Douglass, Up & Away 

Published November 28, 2006 at 8:51 p.m.

(Emote Records, CD)

At this point, Burlington singer-songwriter Gregory Douglass could publish a how-to book on DIY recording, marketing and self-promotion. He's a virtual one-man industry whose work has been heard on national TV and radio, all without the benefit of major (or minor, for that matter) label support.

Douglass' latest, Up &; Away, is his sixth full-length CD, and I'm convinced it's his best to date. I know I said that about his previous effort, Stark, but I'll be damned if the new effort doesn't top it.

On his last disc, Douglass traded his typical pop vibrancy for solemn introspection. In place of the fresh-faced jingles about unrequited love were reflective musings on, well, unrequited love. For his latest, he more or less splits the difference. Make no mistake about it - Up & Away showcases a truly mature artist. But instead of wallowing, Douglass puts his songwriting gifts to work on 11 well-rounded, beautifully voiced tunes.

Recorded and mixed locally, the album sounds as good as any big-budget production. The band on the disc is composed of Douglass on keyboards and vocals, Aaron Cowan on guitar, Stephen Holt on bass and Todd Gevry on drums. Additional flavor comes from guest trumpet, cello and clarinet players.

If you don't dig big melodies, vocal quavers and contemporary production, Up & Away probably isn't your bag. It's not indie-rock, that's for damn sure. But from the effervescent opener "Light Don't Shine" to the chordal swells of the closing title track, this album is full of emotion and sonic detail.

And there's plenty of great stuff in between: "Living" is a metro-ready piano-driven number propelled by disco rhythms and soaring harmonies, while "Annablle" is a confessional cut that's melodically adventurous despite its muted dynamics.

Equally moving is the meditative "Into the Sunset," which illustrates the depth of Douglass' vocal range. He sings the verses in a honeyed baritone, before edging slowly into a multi-tracked chorus as colorful as the sunset the title invokes.

"See You Cry" makes fine use of acoustic guitar and tinkling piano. It's a nice break from the operatic density common to the rest of the record. Still, there are probably at least four or five background vocals fluttering around Douglass' main melody like pristine doves.

There's no telling how much further Douglass' talent will take him, but my guess is both up and away. Catch his CD release party at the Higher Ground Showcase Lounge on Sunday, December 3, with Zac Clark.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Casey Rea

Casey Rea

Casey Rea was the Seven Days music editor from 2004 until 2007. He won the 2005 John D. Donoghue award for arts criticism from the Vermont Press Association.


Comments are closed.

From 2014-2020, Seven Days allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we've appreciated the suggestions and insights, right now Seven Days is prioritizing our core mission — producing high-quality, responsible local journalism — over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Album Review

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2023 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation