The Invisible Eyeball
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Doug Tielli - "Riversea"

Whenever I want to be at once alone and among people, I will walk over to The Tranzac, my local bar and music venue and one of the finest places in Toronto and, indeed, the world, in the hopes that Doug Tielli will be playing some of his otherworldly songs. During those moods that bring me to The Tranzac, no music is more appropriate than Tielli's strange and soulful compositions, often transcendental meditations on nature, which, in the spirit of Emerson and Thoreau, communicate aloneness and at-oneness at once. I've seen Tielli, accompanied by a big, brassy band, play perfectly to a packed, sweaty room, but better still are those times when I've seen him solo, musically meandering for an audience so small that I've just made a mistake calling it an audience. On one occasion, I sat rapt as Tielli serenaded me and two Japanese girls - I know they were Japanese because he had us introduce ourselves - with a short song about deer tracks that, in its specificity, moved us. Another time, I was one of four and one of the other three annoyingly asked if Tielli knew any covers. He said he didn't know very many, but that he did have one "old English folk song" in his repertoire and he played it and it sounded like no England I'd ever encountered in life, literature or song. We four roared, the requester loudest of all.

One thing about Doug Tielli is that he is, along with Sandro Perri, Ryan Driver, and Eric Chenaux, one of Toronto's bent crooners - a member of a musical movement that bridges the chasm between Chet Baker and Loren Mazzacane Connors. Another thing is that he is the youngest member of a gifted musical family: his oldest brother is Martin Tielli, from the Rheostatics, and his other brother is John, leader of Metal Kites and formerly of Clark The Band, who is a writer of beautiful songs. Most importantly, he is a musician of rare power and originality - a guitarist, a pianist and a trombonist, a thoughtful lyricist and a singer with expansive, effortless range. His debut solo album, Swan Sky Sea Squirrel, which is slated for release later this month, promises so much. Buy it - loneliness loves company.

(To watch the video from which this audio was ripped, and thus to see the overcooked pie discussed in the intro, go to Southern Souls, Toronto's welcome answer to Blogotheque's Take Away Shows.)

Posted by Jordan at September 7, 2011 6:13 PM
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