”When I first heard Doug Seegers’ voice, so full of soul and raw emotion, I was stunned. This man has lived these songs, not in his imagination but every long day over many hard years. He stands before you now – ready to testify. Listen and believe.” – Emmylou Harris
‘A Story I Got To Tell’ is Doug Seegers’ first major album release on BMG in the UK. American by birth and a star in Sweden, he has gold and platinum discs to his name, hundreds of live shows to his credit and multiple successful album releases elsewhere in the world.
Released on May 31st ‘A Story I Got To Tell’ features eleven new tracks and is produced by renowned GRAMMY-winning US producer Joe Henry (Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell, Bonnie Raitt, Billy Bragg). Encompassing country and blues, gospel, soul and rock, it’s a fluid and eloquent mix that demonstrates just how accomplished Seegers is as an artist; though as the title suggests, his story has not all been plain sailing.
Though Doug Seegers dreamed of a career in the music industry and grew up on the hard-country sounds of Hank Williams, the heart-first-country-rock of Gram Parsons, the soul-stirring love longs of Emmylou Harris, and the classically American sounds of Johnny Cash, he never imagined his road to stardom would take him from a life of drug-addiction on the streets of New York City to a food pantry in Nashville where everything would change on one extraordinary afternoon.
Growing up in Queens, New York, Doug Seegers listened to soul, blues, and jazz and dreamed of making it as musician. When Seegers’ Dad left him and his family when he was about 8 years old, Doug, alone and lonely in his Long Island home, only found comfort in the guitar and the Hank Williams records his father left behind
For years Seegers chased his musical dreams playing in New York City, Austin and other locales, eventually recording a few songs, while also working odd jobs including a stint as a cabinet-maker, then starting his own family before eventually moving from New York to Nashville with only his guitar and a collection of spiral notebooks filled with over two decades of his song writing. Seegers struggled all along the way with ongoing drug and alcohol abuse which continued until his addiction became so severe that he eventually hit rock bottom and was living on the streets of Nashville alone, homeless, and with nothing but his guitar.
In 2013, after committing to recovery from his addictions and re-committed to his lifelong dream of making music, Seegers eventually became a regular at the ‘Little Pantry That Could’, a food bank in West Nashville run by Stacy Downey, where he received nourishment for his body and soul – food, encouragement, even guitar strings. It’s there that he met Swedish country star Jill Johnson and a film crew who had traveled to Nashville to produce a documentary about the down-and-out musicians who played at Downey’s singer-songwriter nights, where Seegers performed regularly.
Downey knew deep down that among the many fellow musicians with worn guitars, busted strings and frayed hopes, the one person she was sure Jill Johnson needed to hear was Doug Seegers. At first Doug wasn’t sold on the idea but reluctantly sat on the grass next to Johnson and sang “I’m going down to the river, to wash my soul again/I been running with the devil, and I know he is not my friend.”
In early 2014, when Doug performed that song “Going Down To The River” on a popular Swedish TV show it became an instant sensation, topping the iTunes charts overnight. Before long, a three-day marathon of recording followed at Nashville’s legendary Sound Emporium – an iconic studio founded by the late Cowboy Jack Clement, a Country Music Hall of Fame member and friend of Johnny Cash, who had also recorded there as had Emmylou Harris, Taylor Swift, Elvis Costello and so many greats
The formerly homeless street singer was now making music in hallowed space and the rest, as they say, is history.
Today the remarkable 2014 debut album ‘Going Down To The River’, his well-received second album ‘Walking On the Edge of the World’ (both produced by Will Kimbrough and recorded in Nashville), a duet album with Jill Johnson, plus a cherished Christmas album and most recently a respected Hank Williams tribute prove Seegers (who was known as Duke The Drifter early in his career, a nod to Williams) isn’t going anywhere. His albums and singles demonstrate a natural musicianship and song writing talent as well as an ability to evoke deep emotions from loneliness and despair to joy and salvation through songs as diverse as Texas swing dances to heart-wrenching love songs to stomping honky-tonks to rollicking rock.
In the spring of 2018 in Los Angeles, Doug Seegers recorded a set of brand new songs with renown master producer Joe Henry, who was mentored by legendary producer T-Bone Burnett in the ’90s, and has worked with Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Glen Hansard, Aimee Mann, Solomon Burke, Bettye LaVette, Meshell Ndegeocello and many more award-winning artists.
“Working with Joe Henry has been one of the most revolutionary and evolutionary experiences,” says Seegers. “This album is probably my most personal songwriting experience ever and reminds me why every day I choose my recovery, my redemption, and my faith. Through my music I know my authentic message of hope and rehabilitation can help people. It’s what I’m meant to do. It’s the story I’ve got to tell.”
As producer on the new album, Henry instantly connected with Doug’s charismatic presence, his soulful songs, and his artistic sensibility. The result of their collaboration takes Doug beyond his signature country sound to a rich soundscape where soul, blues, rock and gospel intersect — redefining Doug Seegers as a classic American Music artist in the same legendary category as Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Roy Orbison.
‘A Story I Got To Tell’ includes just two cover songs: the first is “White Line” (the other cover is “Poor Side of Town”) written by Canadian songwriter Willie P. Bennett, and it draws on Doug’s experience as a street musician where he organically absorbed songs from different writers and then transformed them into his own unique sound… this authentic version feels like it was written for or by Doug.
The inspirational “Give It Away” is the heart of the album evoking Doug’s raw, spiritual journey from rock bottom addiction to rebirth to recovery and ultimately redemption. The song poignantly tells Doug’s tale of paying it forward, divine intervention and discovering his life’s mission via an AA meeting.
‘Demon Seed’, another standout moment, is the first single from the album and is released to stream/download on 8th March 2019. The single, along with title track ‘A Story I Got To Tell’ gets its first official, televised public performance tonight (Friday March 1st) when Doug performs it on the German national TV show Berlin Live alongside Keifer Sutherland. Live dates in the UK are in the pipeline for Autumn.
Doug Seegers ‘A Story I Got To Tell’ is out 31st May 2019 on BMG.