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CD REVIEW: Doug Spears - Welcome Home
By Don Sechelski - 01/24/2010 - 08:32 PM EST

Artist: Doug Spears
Album: Welcome Home
Label: Cypress Moss Records
Website: http://www.dougspearsmusic.com
Genre: Acoustic folk/pop
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
CD Review: Fourth generation Floridian, Doug Spears, knows the traditions and customs of Florida as well as anyone and he shows it on his new CD, Welcome Home. From the swamps of North Florida to the beaches of Key West, Spears brings the sights, sounds, and even smells of Florida alive in these well written and performed songs. Doug is joined by a variety of musicians on Welcome Home which was exquisitely produced by Jason Thomas.

Moonshiners found the swampland to be a good place to hide their stills and the first cut, Yellow Butter Moon, celebrates their product. "Yellow butter moon shine down through me with a light so true. There's love and life in the burn and bite of that yellow butter moon." Lis Williamson plays a nifty clawhammer banjo along with Doug's guitar and Jason Thomas' fiddle. Rob Ickes' smooth slide kicks off Teppentine, a story about the men who distilled turpentine from the sap of pine trees. It was hot unpleasant work and much like the coal mines, the workers paid all their wages back to the company store. Spears is a storyteller of the first order. His descriptions are vivid and true.

There are so many first rate tracks on Welcome Home. Spears' songs are beautifully crafted with lush imagery and very singable melodies. Some of my favorites are A Mother's Tears about Florida native Lewis Powell who was hung as a co-conspirator with John Wilkes Booth and Banks of Old St Johns which features some very tasty acoustic guitar from Gabe Valla.

You don't have to be from Florida to enjoy and appreciate the excellent performances on Welcome Home. Stellar songwriting, perfect vocals, superb musicians and masterful production combine to create a rare album. This is not Margaritaville, it's a whole lot better.




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