Doug Yoel Releases New EP
On November 25, 2008, despite death and disaster, folk-rocker Doug Yoel will release a new set of recordings that are as memorable as they are persistent on the Kindred Rhythm label.
"I actually joked that no matter what, my new record would at least get done before 'Chinese Democracy!'" laughs Yoel, referring to the 10-years-in-the-making Guns 'n' Roses album which ironically comes out on the same day.
"Yellow Light" – an epic rock meditation on self definition – is a song with a long history. One of the oldest songs in the Doug's catalog and a staple in his concert repertoire, it appeared on his first local cassette release which he made on Long Island as a teenager.
Immediately following the release of Doug Yoel's solo debut, 'Broken English Poem', he began recruiting musicians in New York City for a follow-up album. "After making an album layer-by-layer, as a one-man band" he explained, "I had planned to do this one quickly and mostly live in the studio."
The sessions, done in multiple studios in New York with different producers, actually moved quite slowly – so slowly that one studio even lost the master tapes before they were completed.
"I was fighting to stay afloat in my day job in the record business, watching labels tanking left and right. I was also diagnosed with a nerve disease that threatens my hands. I was robbed, twice, and then the studio lost half of my new album. It was all pretty discouraging."
A positive distraction was occurring at the same time – Doug was gaining recognition as a producer. Three of his productions with the legendary jazz drummer Roy Haynes ended up receiving Grammy Nominations, and his boxed set 'A Life in Time: The Roy Haynes Story' just received awards in the US and France.
Then, real tragedy struck. Mike Jaimes, the fantastic young guitarist who played with Doug on the lost recordings (including "Yellow Light"), died suddenly.
"Once I knew that the magical version of 'Yellow Light' would never be recreated – in my mind I thought someday it would – it became my mission to find and resurrect this track."
Yoel had recently moved from New York to Woodstock, where he set up his studio and business, and took to the task of finishing some music. "I had two finished songs with producer Noah Simon at another studio – 'So..I Want You' and 'On My Hands And All' – and I was combing through other sessions and things for something to go with them. I listened through every CD, and found a terrific rough mix of 'Yellow Light' without vocals; and another great mix of 'Close Your Eyes'. Hallelujah – the session had been saved!"
"I was definitely inspired to cut a great vocal to go with the Mike Jaimes lead guitar. Now it's a definitive version of 'Yellow Light', which is a definitive song for me. And I had to come out of the proverbial 'Yellow Light' to get it out!"
"The song is about moving away from other people's definitions of yourself, " explains Doug. "It refers to relationships, religion, and coming into one's own identity – emotionally, physically and spiritually. Everyone in your life affects or even limits your identity; my personal circumstance made me to realize this when I started writing the song as a teenager. I wrote the rest of the words when I understood a little more about it, and I feel like I sing it now with total perspective. I'm finally coming into my own."
Doug Yoel finished 'Yellow Light' at the Kindred Rhythm studio, which is on the Woodstock property where he lives and operates the Kindred Rhythm Music Group. The EP was mastered in nearby Catskills, NY, by Scott Petito.
Doug Yoel has been involved with the music industry since his teen years. He performed comedy rock (with Opie of "Opie and Anthony" fame) and was a rock DJ on Long Island radio in the 90's. Here he had opportunities to meet with many of his musical heroes like James Taylor and Jackson Browne. Doug elaborates: "Jackson was amazingly kind and encouraging. Totally down to earth. He showed me how to play some of his open-tuning licks, and he even remembered the meeting several years later."
In more recent years, he has managed a variety of indie labels in a myriad of genres. "Getting to work with great individualists like jazz legends Ahmad Jamal and Jack DeJohnette has taught me so much about going your own way, and making it work."
This new release parallels a new beginning in the artist's life. "My life is still fairly dramatic. But now that I have escaped the city, and I live with space up here in Woodstock, I have the room to work it all out, and get creative again. I am re-energized to go out and play these new songs, along with the Broken English Poem songs."
"There are plenty of new songs as well, and the framework for a new LP is already in the can, " says Yoel. Doug will perform in the Northeast this winter, and plans to visit more territories in the spring.
Doug Yoel's Yellow Light / So.. I Want You (EP) will be available for purchase on most major digital retailers on November 25, 2008. A vinyl edition will be available from Kindred Rhythm in March 2009.
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