Comparisons to Bob Dylan and Tom Waits are flattering but are handed out a little too easily when there are gravelly vocals paired with thoughtful lyrics. But considering that in 2005, UK magazine Uncut listed Douglas September’s song “Lady and I” as the number one track influenced by Dylan, such a comparison shouldn’t be considered gratuitous.
It’s a heavy piece of acclaim for a song that came early in the former Cape Bretoner’s musical career, but September wears it well. “Lady and I” was a very fitting 1990’s sequel to the heady times and literary referencing in Dylan’s piece. The more desolate, pared-down lyrics makes the artist’s “post-apocalyptic” descriptor make sense, although the song’s energetic base suggests some optimistic energy behind the wry commentary.
Moving beyond the burden and flattery of comparing someone to a legend, September’s music stands well on its own, though admittedly without the populist recognition of Dylan’s work. September’s four solo albums are a solid foundation of musicianship, engineering, and songwriting, with key collaborations with the likes of Robby Aceto, Michael Shrieve, Wayne Horvitz, Bill Frisell, and David Torn, a who’s who collection of formidable musicians. The latest recording, 2009’s Sundays in Radio, was his first album to be released in seven years. True to its name, many of its tracks take on a more meandering character while retaining September’s signature sharp lyricism.
September will be performing at Sydney’s Upstairs Club on Friday, August 20 at 9:00pm. To learn more about September and his music, visit douglasseptember.com