Doug Cox - A Musical Biography
Doug Cox is a roots music renaissance man. From his bucolic home in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island the slide guitar and dobro master has carved-out an amazingly diverse career as a recording artist and touring musician who has played festivals, clubs and concert halls across Canada and the United States and around the world from Dobrofest in Slovakia to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
An acclaimed educator, Cox has produced a series of instructional video-CD-book packages to teach slide guitar, dobro and blues playing. He also finds time to serve as artistic director for two of the west coast's most popular music festivals, and to his credit, Cox organizes all his varied music business activities so he can spend as much time as possible with his wife and three young daughters.
Cox has just released Stay Lazy (Pacific Music), his fourth CD as a leader in ten years. It's an impressive, eclectic showcase of the musician's gifts as a songwriter, arranger, bandleader, and soulfully succinct soloist on dobro and slide guitar. The Boston Globe has called him "one of the world's most expressive dobro players," and Stay Lazy demonstrates why Cox is held in such high regard by critics and his fellow musicians. He's toured and recorded with Amos Garrett, Long John Baldry, Ellen McIlwaine, Ken Hamm, Rick Fines and Dave Gogo, and most of them perform with Cox on Stay Lazy.
"It's my best CD by far!" enthused Cox while taking a break from his next recording project, a collection of live performances with funny man Todd Butler. "For Stay Lazy, I've selected favorite performances from my three previous CDs plus some new recordings I'm really excited about."
On Stay Lazy, Cox teams-up with Amos Garrett for a playfully juicy reading of Life Is So Peculiar, leads an all-star bluegrass group through a withering version of Ellington's Caravan, and belts-out his originals, Cold When I'm Dead and When The Answer Comes with an expressive Bob Dylan-like growl. He joins Clive Gregson and jazz bassist James Young on a stunningly beautiful rendition of George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps and uncorks gentle, dobro-sweetened rearrangements of Neil Young's After The Gold Rush and Stevie Ray Vaughan's Lenny. Cox, Rick Fines, and Ron Casat team-up to give the reggae classic, Johnny Too Bad a clever, countrified reshaping, and his joyous vocal inspires Ellen McIlwaine's roaring slide guitar showcase, I Like To Slide. Wake Up Lisa/Mary Greig is an amazing, original folk instrumental that sounds as old as the hills, while his arrangement of Black Eyed Susie gives that dusty traditional tune a sprightly west African rhythmic underpinning. Cox also offers a soul-revealing vocal reading of his original, My Father and a funnier, but no less honestly autobiographical gem called My First Bike. Stay Lazy also includes Cox's bluegrass-inspired arrangement of Fanfarinette that serves as a theme song for CBC Radio's Discdrive, and the musician's mesmerizing environmental plea, Listen To The Water. It's already a favorite on several radio programs.
Stay Lazy is a stunning collection of thoughtful songwriting, virtuoso playing, and brilliant arranging. Although it is essentially a compilation, the CD has an exquisitely sequenced flow that mirrors the care and craft evident in each of Cox's elegant dobro and slide guitar solos. Recent Grammy Awards for the O' Brother Where Art Thou Soundtrack and the Foggy Bottom Boys' Man of Constant Sorrow have introduced the general public to the dobro's haunting, expressive sound. They're going to love the magic Doug Cox conjures-up on Stay Lazy.