Doug Paisley, Golden Embers

Mike Wolf

By Mike Wolf

on 04.17.12 in Reviews

If it’s Leslie Feist’s backing vocals that draw people to this new Doug Paisley EP, that’s just fine — any reason for more people to hear him is a good one. No disrespect to his slightly more famous guest, but Paisley just happens to be one of the best singer-songwriters on Earth, a dusty sage fromTorontowith a caramel-toned voice and a concise, artfully plain lyrical style that peels off one crushing insight after another, devastating in their honesty and reassuring in their warmth.

Warm, wise, honest and insightful

Golden Embers is a brief, five-song effort meant to sate us till Paisley’s third album drops this fall, but these songs are hardly cast-offs. “Two Like Us,” one of three tunes Feist sings on, features a spare backing of fiddle, mandolin and electric piano, sounding as natural as weather, while Paisley paints a portrait of love in economical strokes: “Take two like us/ Left out to rust/ Your skirt is torn/ My heel’s well-worn.” On the sumptuous closer “Learn to Lose,” Paisley and Feist harmonize bittersweetly, “Longing’s a vice that you can use/ Take my advice and study the blues/ Don’t wait too long/ To learn to lose,” and your heart may well ask how you can live without Doug Paisley’s wise songs.