Doug Paisley: Debut Performance at Jammin’ Java

Doug Paisley

With the recent release of his latest “Starter Home” album, Toronto singer-songwriter Doug Paisley is just now wrapping up a small tour of the US, which included a stop last Tuesday evening at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA.  As one of our favorite (relatively) local venues, Team GDW did not plan to miss out on finally having the opportunity to catch Doug live in person.  And with some great seats up next to the stage, we were ready to witness the exceptional guitar skills that he would undoubtedly bring too.

Standing center-stage with just his acoustic guitar, Doug received a very warm welcome to Vienna, and rewarded this intimate room with fourteen great songs on this particular night.  Opening with two tracks from the new album, Doug shared both “Starter Home” and “Drinking With A Friend,” using the time between tracks to address the audience about how he loved seeing a venue such as this offering guitar lessons.  “I used to take guitar lessons as a little kid, so I used to see all the dads walking by with their gig bags,” he shared.  “I was standing on stage earlier doing my sound check, and there’s a part of me that says ‘don’t do it, there’s too much driving involved,’ but it was really nice to see that they are enthusiastic to play music.”

With nine new tracks to be found on “Starter Home,” Doug would share four in total, adding “Easy Money” and “This Loneliness” later into his set.   Having an established back catalog of tunes at his disposal, older songs were included, and much appreciated by his fans in the room.  You have to go back to his 2009 debut self-titled album to find “We Weather,” which was proudly performed at Jammin’ Java.  “I wrote this song after I went off the road one time when I was driving with my girlfriend … we just hit a patch of snow and started spinning across the highway,” he reminisced.  “It was a memorable experience that really drew us together, and then shortly after we decided to part ways.”  With the audience hungry to hear more, Doug would continue, “My driving had nothing to do with it.  It was something more fundamental I guess, but this song is about people who stick it out and stay together.”

Fans of his 2014 “Strong Feelings” album would enjoy the popular cuts, “What’s Up Is Down,” and “Radio Girl,” complete with a tale of having a crush on ‘an older girl’ working in a record store when he was maybe 10 or 11 years old, and how he still proudly owns the ‘cool’ records that she told him to buy back then.  Doug would also draw upon his 2012 “Golden Embers” EP, sharing “Two Like Us,” “Sad Sinner” and “Bats” in succession mid-show.  And saving some of the material from his 2010 “Constant Companion” album until the end, hits such as “No One But You” and “Always Say Goodbye” were performed and well received.  With time left for just one final track, Doug chose to not stray from the popularity of this album, thanking all for coming out to see him play, before closing with “End Of The Day.”

Gracing the Jammin’ Java stage for just a little over sixty minutes, Doug Paisley brought his compositions and life experiences to Virginia, and would head out ready to do it all over again in Baltimore and Philadelphia over the next few nights, before heading back north and home to Ontario.  It was a pleasure to meet Doug after the show, and take home a copy of the “Starter Home” album on vinyl to enjoy.  We wish Doug the best for his remaining dates, and hope that he visits this venue again one day to share his wonderful music once more.

Set List:

  1. Starter Home
  2. Drinking With A Friend
  3. We Weather
  4. What’s Up Is Down
  5. Wide Open Plain
  6. Radio Girl
  7. Two Like Us
  8. Sad Sinner
  9. Bats
  10. Easy Money
  11. No One But You
  12. This Loneliness
  13. Always Say Goodbye
  14. End Of The Day


The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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