Local native holding CD release party next week at Donaleigh’s in downtown Barrie
Barrie native Nate Douglas will host a CD release party Thursday, Feb. 23, at Donaleigh’s Irish Public House, 28 Dunlop St. E. Tickets are $25 at the door or $20 in advance. SUBMITTED
Growing up in a musical family, it was pretty much a given that Nate Douglas would wind up doing the same.
Still, he has carved out his own path and it culminates next week with a CD release party in downtown Barrie.
“It’s been a goal ever since I started playing at age 14,” said Douglas, who wrote his first song just before he got married last October. “It was a first-dance song to surprise my wife.
“It was fun,” he added. “I liked the song and it ended up sounding cool.
“It was a goal, I wanted to complete something. I had (bits and pieces) of songs unfinished.”
That song didn’t end up on the CD, but he does expect to play it at the release party where he has assembled a group of musical friends to perform with him. His wife Tara (Johnson) Douglas also joins the band on keyboard.
They met at the University of Windsor where she was studying classical piano and he was studying classical guitar.
They could have met earlier, but never crossed paths. She grew up in Oro-Medonte Township and went to Eastview Secondary School while Douglas, who was born here, went to Barrie Central Collegiate.
After university, he went to Humber College for a year of jazz.
His parents purchase his first guitar, at the age of 14, as a Christmas present. His mother, Edwina Douglas, is a well-known vocal teacher in Barrie who has also served as music director for numerous local theatre productions.
He had no interest in piano because his sister, Jenna, would practise on it all day. She ultimately went into opera.
“I didn’t know how to play it (the guitar, but) I just loved it, was obsessed with it,” said Douglas, who figured it out on his own and then took some lessons.
In school, he played trumpet in Central’s band, but in university didn’t join a band. Instead, he started playing a lot of Celtic music, encouraged by his roommate Jake Charron, who played piano and guitar. They teamed up with Charron’s brother, Kyle, a fiddler, for gigs from time to time and even played a concert at Barrie’s Colours of Music festival.
It was his first experience playing in a band, although it was an informal one.
His ability to play Celtic music on the guitar led to a full-time freelance career performing and touring with groups such as The Fitzgeralds, Next Generation Leahy, StepCrew, Natalie McMaster, among others.
When he was home, he also taught guitar. His career had always been instrumental - no vocals - and he didn’t start singing until he was 20, when he started playing local pubs as backup to a fiddler.
“People in the pub would ask me to sing, but (he’d always say he didn’t sing). Eventually I thought I’d learn and asked my mother for a song,” he said, adding that she recommended Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine. “It went over OK. Playing in the background like the bar is a perfect place to practise singing. People aren’t really listening.”
Now, his focus has shifted to singing and he’s picked up some tips from his mother.
With the release of Take Me With You he wants to focus on performing his own music. The wedding song was a jumping off point for songwriting, a process he found harder than he thought it would be.
Nevertheless, he was able to come up with 11 good songs, a mix of folk, pop, rock.
For Douglas, it starts with the melody and the lyrics follow.
“I have an idea of a melody and sing whatever comes out my mouth, then I think of another sentence to go with it,” he said. “Then I realize what at it’s about (the song).
“Some of the songs are dark and I’m not really a dark guy, but some of these songs have it.”
In addition to the original tunes, Douglas plans on playing a couple of fun covers at the CD release party Thursday, Feb. 23 at Donaleigh’s Irish Public House, located at 28 Dunlop St. E.
Tickets are $25 at the door or $20 in advance.