Release Date: June 2, 2017
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Press Contact Pati deVries
Photo Credits: Lauren Desberg
Dougmore is the bold artistic project of native New Yorker Douglas Jay Goldstein, a decorated veteran within the contemporary bluegrass and folk music scenes. As a co-founder of Northeastern string-band Cricket Tell The Weather as well as playing alongside Woody Guthrie’s grandson Cole Quest, he has become well-known for his dexterity and sorcery as an award winning banjoist. Having honed his craft in the halls of conservatories as well as ashrams in the far reaches of India, Douglas has performed with progressive newgrass, traditional bluegrass, and indie string-band acts throughout the years and done his diligence exploring every corner of American roots music. All of his diverse influences converge in the artist’s debut studio effort, Outerboros.
Doug began studying tenor banjo at age nine and was soon introduced to the music of another Native New Yorker, Bela Fleck, whose wizardry on his classical banjo record Perpetual Motion set his world on fire. Throughout his teenage years studying classical and jazz guitar, Doug also worked closely with banjo pioneers Tony Trischka and Noam Pikelny to advance his ambitions of daring virtuosity. After studying classics and literature at Oberlin, he later found songwriting; citing another of his greatest influences, Doug says “Joni Mitchell’s ‘Song for Sharon’ begins with her narrator recounting a trip to Staten Island to buy a new mandolin, and I can put myself in that moment on that ferry, as I’ve been making my ritual pilgrimages to Mandolin Brothers for decades and I, too, have looked out on that harbor in wonder, imagining the wonder my ‘tempest tost’ forebears felt when the crowded vessels that carried them away from their burning villages in the old country finally reached our shores; having left everything behind, seeking refuge for a new life and a spin at lady fortune’s wheel, they were first greeted by the glimmer of the towering ‘New Colossus,’ as Lady Liberty’s silent lips echo the promise etched on America’s golden door.”
The song is an attempt to redefine what that promise means for Douglas, and throughout the record he employs lurid metamorphic imagery, drawn from ancient and medieval poetry and lore, to craft his own personal narratives and mythology, while refracting his vision through the prism of traditional forms and bending it back through an intertextual kaleidoscopic gaze. The character of Outer Boroughs is caught somewhere between the reality he lives and the stories he tells, slithering his way into a circle of believing his own lies as he sings “It’s the story of a boy, half skin and the other half scales, sits in his tower and devours every page of his tail.”
The eponymous title track sets the tone for the entire record, a Big Apple pun on the ancient symbol of a self-devouring snake “ouroboros”; through this theme, the record explores transformations, transitions, death & renewal, and negotiating thresholds— a metamorphosis botched, or a rite of passage gone wrong. The collection closes on an oracular hymnal true to the album’s title, detailing Dante’s infernal depiction of the grotesque exchange of forms between man and snake ad infinitum, bookending the album where it began.
Cascading banjo flurries, artful arrangements, and furry production mark the setting of this cinematic sonic tapestry. Dougmore produced and recorded at NYC’s legendary Magic Shop Studios, the studio of choice for a veritable pantheon of artists such as David Bowie, Norah Jones, Lou Reed, The Ramones, and the Foo Fighters, among countless others. Outerboros is one of the very last buns out of the oven from what was long considered an analog fetishist’s den of fantasy. The album features ten tracks that showcase his craft as a composer, songwriter, and vocalist as well as Dougmore’s instrumental virtuosity.
In a time when the Americana sphere has become saturated with tired whiskey soaked themes of riding the rails and longing for the old home, Dougmore obeys his own muse as he sets out to imbue shades of erudition, honesty, and personal authenticity through his honeyed tenor and technicolored bardic style. Outerboros is not your typical avant-American stomp: the album is a spellbinding gift to audiophiles everywhere and an invitation to the uninitiated on a daring otherworldly musical voyage.
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