Singer/songwriter Doug Irving just released his 16th studio album, Songs Of The Wood. Although guitar is his instrument of choice, he’s equally comfortable on the keyboards. As a song writer, he spent eight years in Nashville, TN inking 34 independent cuts before moving back home to upstate New York in 2006.
After writing songs for 16 different projects, I asked Doug how you know when you get a good one on your hands. “It’s hard. You get so involved with the process and you’re so close to the project you can lose objectivity sometimes,” he said. “I love when I don’t play my songs for a long time and then when I play them again, and I get goose bumps. I think, ‘okay, the emotion is still there, that’s what it sounds like to someone who’s never heard it before.”
Doug’s parents bought him a guitar for Christmas when he was just eleven years old. “I just took to it,” Doug recalled. In high school Doug started writing songs and taught his older brother how to play guitar. “He actually recorded some things before I did,” Doug mused. Doug had his first of many songs published in 1972.
Music has permeated almost every facet of Doug’s life even though he has maintained other sources of income throughout the years. But the last ten years or so has been mostly music, inspired by his chapter leadership of the Nashville Songwriters Association. “I try to set a good example. Talk the talk, walk the walk,” he said.
“If you want to get better at songwriting, like anything else, you need to do it a lot. You’re not going to just suddenly get better. It’s a craft. You’ve got to work and get better at it,” he said. “So I write a lot, and especially in the last five years since I took that chapter over.” And the practice at his craft is evident indeed throughout the tracks on his latest CD. My favorite, “Into The Wood” rings with influences of Jethro Tull, which Doug says was the objective.
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