The Golden Vanity
Bio-Brief: Docwood is a folk singer and sometime songwriter. His main gig is Professor and Chair of Communication Studies at the University of Rhode Island. While having done some solo and group work since the mid-60's, Docwood considers the highlights of his folk singing to be when he opened for Shaw Brothers ('I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing') and for Peter Seeger when he performed at the University of Rhode Island. While Docwood's early musical influences included jazz and classical music, the folk music of the Kingston Trio, The Limeliters, the Brandywine Singers, and the Journeymen shaped his early folk singing and remains a significant influence to this day. Other traditional American music influences include Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and the Weavers. Contemporary artists that influence his work include Harvey Reid, Dan Crary, David Mallet, Bill Staines and Christopher Shaw. Docwood's first release on Neoga Records is collection of traditional and contemporary folksongs. Docwood first started as a folk singer in the mid-1960's and although he has had several private releases of tapes and CDs, this is his first public offering. Docwood says, 'I think listeners will find this CD a comfortable fit for those who enjoy folk music. It's just me, a few instruments, and an occasional guest artist. Nothing fancy or overproduced. There are no lush orchestration or drum tracks on this CD. I wanted the power of songs to be front and center. For me, folksongs are like a pleasant conversation with a friend - personal and direct with no pretensions.' Doug 'Wild' Wood, Docwood's brother, provides some great harmonica work on six of the songs. If I Were a Carpenter, John Henry, House of the Rising Sun, Sixteen Tons, Make Me A Pallet and St. James Infirmary have Doug's emotive harmonica playing. Guest artist Joe Miller contributed the three harmony parts on Jesse James. The title cut, Golden Vanity, is a song of the sea that tells the story of a young sailor sinking the enemy ship and his captain's betrayal. The Golden Vanity dates back to 1685. Other 'oldies' include The Water is Wide (1765) one of the most enduring and beautiful songs in the Western world. The Cuckoo (1769) is a traditional Appalachian song and Red Is The Rose (date unknown) is the Irish version of the Scottish song 'Loch Lomond.' Traditional American songs from the turn of the twentieth century include The Crawdad Song, Jesse James, John Henry, House of the Rising Sun, and Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor. Contemporary songs include Tim Harden's If I Were A Carpenter, Irving Gordon's Two Brothers, Gordon Lightfoot's Early Mornin' Rain, Steve Goodman's City of New Orleans, Ian Tyson's Four Strong Winds, Merle Travis's Sixteen Tons and John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads. A new original instrumental piece by Docwood, Mohegan Morning, poignantly reflects the inherent pride of Native Americans and their harmony with nature. Docwood records the songs in his basement studio using a Roland digital recorder. Typically, each song is assembled one layer (or instrument or voice) at a time. These 'tracks' are then mixed together to create the final version. Docwood plays all the instruments (except for the harmonica parts played by Doug 'Wild' Wood) and sings all the vocals (except for the harmonies on Jesse James handled adroitly by Joe Miller). Instrumentation includes a Taylor Dan Crary Model 6-string guitar, a Guild 12-string guitar, a 1923 Gibson trap-door tenor banjo, a five-string banjo, a Yamaha classical guitar, a 1930's Stradolin mandolin, and harmonicas (by Doug 'Wild' Wood). Docwood is also an MP3 artist and can be heard at mp3.com/Docwood. Currently, his MP3 songs are featured on over twenty MP3 stations.