• Gregory Douglass is Vermont unique
    August 21,2013

    By Janelle Faignant
    Staff Writer

    According to Wikipedia, while Vermont musician Gregory Douglass was a high school student at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, he recorded his first two albums. The day he graduated his headmaster proclaimed that Douglass was the first student he would ever encourage not to go to college.

    Douglass took that advice to heart and music became his full-time pursuit. Now an internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter, 32-year-old Gregory Douglass has released eight critically acclaimed albums. He will be performing what he calls a “Gregory Douglass and friends” kind of show at Stowe’s Spruce Peak Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday Aug. 24, as part of his “Alone Together” Tour and part of the PeakVTartists Series.

    Born and raised in Vermont, he currently calls Essex Junction home, and Vermont seems to run in his blood.

    “Being here breeds creativity,” Douglass said in a recent interview. “That’s probably why there are so many amazingly talented artists coming out of little old Vermont.”

    A self-taught guitarist and pianist, he won talent shows in his teens, and continues to writes his own music and lyrics. NPR’s
    “Morning Edition” called Douglass “one of New England’s best-kept secrets.”

    Listening to clips of his music on his website, it’s clear in the opening 10 or 20 seconds of each song this is music that knows itself. It’s not flashy or showy or trying too hard to grab your attention, yet it does. It’s calm and confident; inspired yet grounded music.

    Jennifer Layton of indie-music.com called his album “Up & Away” a collection of “lush, sophisticated compositions with underlying danger and foreboding that still seduce your heart, even when you’re aware of the darkness.”

    “I write about personal experiences or other people’s experiences from my own observation,” he explained. “I usually write music first and plug in the lyrics afterwards because melody really drives the song for me.”

    Douglass credits Kate Bush’s dream-themed songs of the ‘80s as a major influence on him while he was in high school, and he decided back then that one day he would do an album as a tip of the hat to her. That idea manifested itself in his latest album,

    “Lucid,” which his current tour is supporting.

    “I have always been fascinated with dreams, and I think there’s a lot to be learned from (them).” he said of the album.

    If you are not familiar with her, Bush’s experimental style is kind of a step beyond Cyndi Lauper — unusual, abstract, a little trippy, with her emotive voice as the driving force. That influence and abstract quality is noticeable in Douglass’ work.

    He describes himself as a slightly rare breed of artist who enjoys the business side of things, and has recently undertaken a new venture, a website he calls a resource house for musicians, www.thecreativeadvisor.com. On it he shares the knowledge he’s garnered from over a decade of experience in inspirational podcasts, tutorials, blog posts, videos and interviews with other musicians.

    The show at Spruce Peak will be an intimate performance, where he’ll share the stage with several other Vermont musicians.

    “It’s really cool to be playing Spruce Peak because it’s my home turf and it’s a beautiful venue to be coming back to.”

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