Damhnait Doyle
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Damhnait Doyle

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Band Pop Adult Contemporary


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“a versatile voice that is angel-pure one minute, deep and hurtin’ the next” - Here Magazine

“Raw acoustic sounding collage of songs full of angst, heart-breaking stories and stellar songwriting” - Newfoundland Herald

“If you don’t like this cd for her sweet honesty, then you’ll likely fall for the enchantingly sexy vocals, but I promise real fans of acoustic pop that you’ll adore it for a dozen other reasons . . . I’m sorry but that girl is gold, solid gold.” - The Gate

Published: Thursday, October 09, 2008
There's an unwritten rule among music journalists that one must never review a cover band. Save the space for artists doing their own stuff instead of a karaoke act, no matter how glorified.
However, an exception was made for Let It Be: the Songs of Lennon-McCartney, presented at the National Arts Centre on Wednesday. How come? Because the four Canadian musicians involved usually do perform their own stuff, and it's known to be quite good.
Check out the caliber of personnel: Triumph guitarist Rik Emmett has a thriving solo career, singer-songwriter-guitarist Russell deCarle is a defining force in Prairie Oyster, Damhnait Doyle is one of Newfoundland's fastest rising stars and Toronto's Andrew Craig commands respect for his instrumental ability as well as his sterling pipes.
With such a prodigious combination of talent and energy, it promised to be a top-quality evening of entertainment witnessed in the comfort of a posh venue.
Although a few hundred short of a sellout, Let It Be was certainly a polished affair that attracted an upscale demographic, many with offspring in tow. Rowdy Triumph fans were not well tolerated.
Part of the fun was to see each musician bring his or her own style to the familiar Beatles classics, but it was also fascinating to see how they interacted with each other, and the backing musicians, who were led by Sattalites' Fergus Hambleton.
Overall, the feeling on stage was one of mutual admiration as each artist solicited applause for their mates. "Wasn't Russell/Andrew/Damhnait/Rik great? Let's hear it for Russell/Andrew/Damhnait/Rik," they crowed.
The accolades were, for the most part, deserved. The evening opened with a splashy group effort on Magical Mystery Tour, before each member took a turn singing lead on a few tunes.
The first string of songs featured deCarle, whose unhurried drawl gave the songs Love Me Do, Do You Want To Know a Secret and And I Love Her a vintage country feel reminiscient of the Grand Old Opry. Next came Emmett with I Saw Her Standing There, his first of several throat-shredding vocal performances of the night. Emmett joked that he was hired to sing all those Paul McCartney parts that "rip your throat out" and it looked to be the truth.
Late in the concert, for example, he pushed his voice into the red to send Oh Darling into the stratosphere for an effect that was eerily similar to a Triumph power ballad. In the old days, we would have sparked our lighters and hoisted our stubbies. At the NAC the other night, we bestowed a standing ovation and polite but sustained applause.
Emmett was great, but my favourite performer was Doyle, whose sassy energy lit up the stage, while her dazzling sequined mini-dress and four-inch heels lent an air of glamour to the occasion. "I'm like Yoko Ono up here," she cracked. A natural comedian, she earned the heartiest laughs with her dead-on Sarah Palin impression, dedicating her velvety sung Girl, an ode to a ruthless love interest, to the Republican party's vice-presidential candidate.
In the eyes of Beatles fanatics, the weakest link was Andrew Craig. Though he has a pleasant voice and a light, jazzy hand on piano, he flubbed a couple of lines and, according to one obsessive Beatles afficionado, misidentified McCartney as the originator of In My Life (it was Lennon, I was informed).
By the end, though, all was forgiven. During a magnificent, heart-stirring version of Let It Be, the grand finale, members of the audience rose to their feet, and stood there, swaying from side to side, waving their hands in the air and raising their voices. Hearing the iconic piano ballad rendered with such attention to musical detail was practically a religious experience; even a cynical observer had to recognize the power of being able to sing along to a tune that has soothed the masses for so many years.

- Ottawa Citizen

At some point in every artist's career, he or she toys with the idea of recording an album of cover tunes. It just so happens that more artists than ever seem to reaching this point. In the last 12 months, we've been treated with cover collections by Jann Arden, Carly Simon, Bryan Ferry, Anne Murray, Cat Power, Willie Nelson, Josh Groban, and Herbie Hancock's Grammy-winning tribute to Joni Mitchell, not to mention the soundtracks for Control, Across the Universe and I'm Not There. Add Labrador native Damhnait Doyle to the list. Fresh out of girl trio, Shaye, her latest effort, Lights Down Low, features 10 covers -- opening with an intoxicating version of Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart and ending with a sprightly dub take on Roxy Music's More Than This. Doyle's song selection is eclectic and delicious -- ABBA's Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!, The Hip's Bobcaygeon, The Clash's Train In Vain -- and her sultry, electro-acoustic renditions, including a demented music-box version of Cheap Trick's
I Want You To Want Me and a duet with producer Danny Michel on Bob Marley's Is This Love, are simply stellar.

4 stars ****
Sandra Sperounes
- The Edmonton Journal ****

All-covers albums are usually safe bets, but Doyle takes lots of chances here. The wide and daring song selection highlights her strong and interesting voice. Produced, engineered and played by Danny Michel, whose greatest achievement has been a unique Bowie covers disc, he brings the same magic to Doyle's disc, deconstructing and re-arranging everything from Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart to Roxy Music's More Than This. The disc is much more than tricks; Doyle's whispery-sultry vocals shine on The Tragically Hip's Bobcaygeon and Lucinda Williams's Essence. Her best work to date.

BOB MERSEREAU - The Telegraph Journal

Damhnait Doyle
Lights Down Low

Newfoundland solo artist and member of pop rock group Shaye, Damhnait Doyle returns for her fourth solo disc, a collection of easy-going covers made perfect for an evening around the fireplace with a glass of wine.

Doyle's distinctive, sultry vocal and warm, sparse arrangements courtesy of Doyle and producer Danny Michel create an enjoyable disc of tender covers. They toned down the rockers and more upbeat tunes to fit the mood of the album.

Highlights include Joy
Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart", the Hip's "Bobcaygeon", ABBA's "Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)", Lucinda Williams' "Essence" and the Foo Fighters' "Everlong". Doyle also performs a stripped down version of Cheap Trick's rocker "I Want You To Want Me" in a sweet, lullabyish form, complete with a music box in the background.

Eric Lewis
- Times & Transcript (Moncton)

Doyle lights up favourite songs

DURING THE EAST COAST Music Awards in Fredericton, the crowd at the Aitken
Centre was treated to a different side of singer Damhnait Doyle, as the
native Newfoundland singer-songwriter struck a louder, funkier groove than
normal, singing ABBA's Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight) backed by
the mighty rhythm of Cape Breton's Slowcoaster.
The idea was suggested by Wayne O'Connor, longtime friend (and husband of
manager Sheri Jones), as an extension of the Shaye singer's latest solo
project, an album of covers helmed by Toronto musician/producer Danny Michel
titled Lights Down Low.
"It was fun to rock out," says Doyle of the Slowcoaster experience. "I’d gotten kinda shy about performing solo; usually with Shaye we’d have five or six people on stage with us, and the thought of going out there on my own scared the living daylights out of me. ‘Oh my God, where are my peeps?’
"But I was booked to do CBC Radio’s Shift at the ECMAs, and Wayne said, ‘Why not do it with Slowcoaster?’ Which was great because I love those guys as people, hanging out whenever our paths cross on the road, and we were able to rehearse when they came through Toronto. It was so much fun, I walked off going, ‘Who was that person dancing on stage?’ And Sheri goes, ‘I think that was you!’ "
Tonight Doyle sings her own compositions at Casino Nova Scotia’s Schooner Room as part of a Songwriters Circle hosted by Bruce Guthro, featuring Meaghan Smith and Rockstar: INXS’s Suzie MacNeil. But Lights Down Low allowed her to stretch her musical chops a bit further, lending her interpretive skills to songs by artists ranging from Cheap Trick and Roxy Music to Joy Division and the Clash.
Recorded over two years with Michel, whom she befriended on the 2003 Bluebird North tour, the project began when a co-writing session bogged down and Michel suggested recording a favourite song in his home studio to loosen the musical muscles.
"A Bob Marley song was on the radio, and Danny suggested we try one of his songs, and I said, ‘Great, let’s do Is This Love; it’s my favourite Bob Marley song.’
"So it was this late night recording, I did it in one take curled up in this chair with the mic positioned right at my lips, and I could just reach down and grab my glass of red wine," she recalls and smiles.
"Then I sort of forgot about it, and a couple of weeks later he played me a produced version that he’d added all this extra stuff to, and I just went, ‘Wow!’ Sheri freaked out and said I had to do a whole album like that, and so whenever I had some down time from Shaye I went up to Danny’s and we tried out other songs."
For a record that was recorded over such a long period, Lights Down Low is remarkable for the consistent mood it generates. Cheap Trick’s I Want You to Want Me takes on an aching music box tone, while Foo Fighters’ Everlong gets turned into a Neil Young-esque ballad in Doyle’s quest to make the perfect "dinner party record."
Michel had already done his own covers record, a David Bowie tribute titled Loving the Alien, and brought considerable instrumental skill to wrapping Doyle’s sultry tones around arrangements that often rebuilt familiar melodies from the ground up.
"We both had the same criteria for the songs," she explains. "There’s a couple of female perspective tunes on there, but most are male-oriented that were originally louder and faster, but with a real strong vulnerability to them lyrically that’s slightly masked by the production.
"So we’d take a song like the Hip’s Bobcaygeon — which already has this kind of dreamy feel about it — and then add this subtle disco groove, and Danny would lay everything else in over top of our guitar and vocals.
"But the main criterion was just having fun. We were actually doing a record for the sake of making music, which is novel for people who’ve been in the industry for a while."
Tickets for the Songwriters Circle are $36.50 at the Casino, Ticket Atlantic box office (451-1221 or www.ticketatlantic.com) and participating Atlantic Superstore outlets.

( scooke@herald.ca)

- The Chronicle Herald

Damhnait Doyle's new CD happened by accident. Before sitting down to write a song at friend Danny Michel's studio, she and her pal shared a glass of wine.

The Bob Marley song "Is this love" was on the radio and, according to Doyle, one of them said, "Let's do a weird recording of this song."

They did.

Doyle's manager, Sheri Jones, later heard it and suggested they do a few more like it.

Two years and a couple of projects later - including Doyle's work with Shaye - those songs comprise the 10 on "lights down low."

It's Doyle's first solo album since 2003's "dav-net."

"We wanted to make a dinner party record," she says, "one like Nora Jones' was a couple of years ago, when it first came out."

All of the songs are covers, with Doyle and Michel - a Toronto-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer - each selecting five.

"We really forced the songs on each other," Doyle says.

She notes the arrangements on each of the tunes are totally different from the originals.

They turned each song on its head, she says.

"What the song was, we did the opposite thing with its tempo."

The only exception was "Essence" by Lucinda Williams. Doyle says they didn't change it because they felt it was already presented in its pure form.

The lone Canadian song on the CD is the Tragically Hip's "Bobcaygeon," but Doyle wishes she had included "White Hot" by Tom Cochrane.

Last month's East Coast Music Association convention and awards weekend marked one of the first times she performed songs from the album live.

She did one during the ECMA's 20th anniversary gala and played a complete set with Cape Breton's Slowcoaster.

Those experiences were liberating, she says.

"I just felt so free on stage. I was, like, dancing, and I never do that. I was like, 'What's going on here?' I just felt so comfortable and felt like a different person. I felt like it gives me permission to be a different person or to be an actor."

Doyle is excited to sing the songs again and wants to tour the record.

She says there isn't so much performance pressure because the songs are tested and true, allowing her to try to bring them to another level.

But the ultimate goal for "lights down low," she says, is to have fun.

With the industry in turmoil because of rampant music downloading and sliding CD sales, she says it's impossible to hope for fame or money when a new recording is released.

"(If huge success) happens to you," Doyle says, "it's a freak of nature. So, I'm not hoping for those things. I'm hoping to enjoy myself."

After this record, she'd like to do another solo album.

She's written a couple of songs she'd love to record.

"In many ways, it would feel like a first record all over again. I'm so excited that I am even feeling so unjaded about what's going on in the industry and my career. In some ways, it feels like I'm just beginning."

The Telegram

- The Telegram – St. John’s, NL

As lead David Duchovny - along with the rest of the cast - settles into a fourth season of the popular Showtime series Californication, Lakeshore Records and Showtime have teamed up to release a selection of soundtrack pieces from the highly viewed third season. And why not? The show has featured music from well-knowns like Rob Zombie and Widespread Panic, cult favorites like G.G. Allin and Jimmy LaFave, and up-and-comers like Black Joe Lewis. This collection of 13 tracks is every bit the soundtrack album that listeners would expect from a show with such eclectic tastes.

And these album producers aren’t messing around, opening strongly and assuredly with Rob Zombie’s expressive (I guess that’s a good word here) track “Pussy Liquor.” Followed immediately by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears on the jazzy track “Bitch, I Love You,” fans of the show will already be feeling the vibe of the show pouring out of their speakers. It’s unfortunate that the half-assed cover of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves Of London” by the otherwise stalwart Widespread Panic is such a disappointment, especially when compared with Danielle Duval’s eerily sensual “You’re The One That I Want” and Jimmy LaFave’s tender rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Not Dark Yet,” not to mention rocker G.G. Allin’s delicate and surprisingly touching version of Zevon’s “Carmelita.” Even the unsigned (and relatively unknown) Spider Problem steps it up with the catchy “Cha Cha (Be My New BF),” exuding a sense of sexy indifference reminiscent of the best tracks from the electroclash band Le Tigre. Both Lord and Blond Pilot contribute excellently gentle tracks shoring up the emotional aspects of the album, while Stuffy Shmitt manages more rough emotion in the intentionally haphazard “Can’t Find My Way Home.” Nicely wrapping the album up is Damhnait Doyle’s deceptively simple cover of the over-covered “I Want You To Want Me.” Somehow, the Canadian pop singer manages to trot this old horse out in a way that feels both fresh and invigorating.

Overall, this collection of songs has enough familiarity (almost half of it is covers) and freshness (see Spider Problem, Joe Lewis, and Damhnait Doyle) to reel in any music fan who takes a listen. Somehow managing to be both eclectic and cohesive at the same time, this is a soundtrack for those who feel that the soundtrack genre has lost its footing in a world of single-track downloads.

Zach’s Rating: A-
Perfect For: Fans of eclectic soundtrack collections
Stay Away if: The idea of a soundtrack is sooooo early 2000s

To purchase the soundtrack for the 3rd season of Californication, visit Amazon

- All News


(2008) Lights Down Low
(2003) Davnet
(2000) Hyperdramatic
(1996) Shadows Wake Me

(2007) Shaye "Lake of Fire"
(2003) Shaye "The Bridge"



damhnait’s latest cd, “Lights Down Low,” is a spectacular showcase for “dav, the vocal powerhouse” ... not to be confused with “dav, the songwriter,” “dav, the budding director,” or any of her other multiple-threat incarnations. Although we haven’t officially seen her dance yet (and she assures us we never will), the fancy footwork required to pull off a new recording while working with Kim Stockwood as Shaye, writing in Nashville and Toronto, and continuing her weekly column for “The Telegram” is certainly worthy of honourable mention.

“Lights Down Low,” is stellar collection of cover tunes which may appear randomly diverse at first read -- Joy Division, ABBA, Bob Marley, The Clash -- but dav’s intensity and the musical ingenuity of her partner in the project, Danny Michel, create a disc that feels like a natural whole. dav explores every facet of her voice and reveals depths of tenderness and passion. She and Danny play with rhythms and arrangements that honour proven hits with fresh perspectives and a true love for the music. dav refers to the cd as “the perfect dinner party record” in its eclectic representation of musical genres and eras.

damhnait’s career is charging ahead on every level as she continues to explore a variety of creative outlets. In addition to her recent solo project, dav and Kim toured throughout 2007 to promote Shaye’s latest cd, “Lake of Fire.” The title track soared to #13 on the A/C charts and “You’re Not Alone” followed with similar success. The girls also shot a very well received 4-part reality/documentary television series with Global which featured an authentic, unscripted and sometimes hysterical glimpse behind the entertainment curtain. The show follows the girls as they promote “Lake Of Fire” which built on the momentum established by two huge radio hits from the first cd, “The bridge.” (“Happy Baby” and “Beauty” both shot instantly into the Top Twenty on the A/C charts and “Happy Baby” earned a SOCAN Award, A Canadian Radio Music Award and a Juno nomination.) Shaye’s self-titled show aired initially on the E! network and was picked up later in the fall and aired on CMT.

Whether with Shaye or performing solo, damhnait has toured Canada extensively, opening for legends like Willie Nelson and sharing the stage as special guest with such artists as Nelly Furtado, Dido and Jann Arden. With Shaye, she has represented Canada at Japan’s 2005 Expo and has performed on Canada Day on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. On her own, dav has travelled to Kandahar twice to perform for Canadian forces personnel, initially as part of a CBC Christmas television special and subsequently as a guest of General Rick Hillier. She also journeyed to Africa to contribute her talents to the documentary The Song for Africa, a project aimed at raising awareness about the AIDS pandemic in Africa among Canada’s youth. Her insightful and humorous recounting of her experiences is what prompted the publication of her first book, “Miscellaneous Female.”

damhnait dedicates a significant amount of time and energy to co-writing efforts which have paid off with covers by Brian Melo, Eva Avila, Rex Goudie and Alexz Johnson, as well as multiple television and film placements. Never one to stray far from a microphone, dav has guested on recordings with Bruce Cockburn, Kevin Parent and Justin Nozuka to name just a few. Her previous solo effort “dav-net” was a sophisticated, acoustic, roots/rock recording, with mature, powerful writing. “dav-net” garnered two 2004 East Coast Music Awards for Female and Pop/Rock Recording of the year and dav placed as a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition for her song, “Afterglow.”

From writing and performing, to directing a video or writing a weekly newspaper column, doyle seems to be tapped into an endless font of creative energy. Who knows where that massive talent and insatiable curiousity will lead her next, but just for tonight, pour yourself a glass of wine, turn the Lights Down Low and enjoy.

dynamic and innovative . . . emotional and intelligent . . .

awards & achievements
2009 ECMA Nomination Pop Recording of the Year
ECMA Nomination FACTOR Recording of the Year

2008 Music NL Nomination Female Artist of the Year (Lights Down Low)
ECMA Nomination Pop Recording of the Year (Shaye/ Lake of Fire)
2008 ECMA Nomination Single of the Year (Lake of Fire)

2005 SOCAN AWARD SOCAN Pop Music Award (Shaye/ Happy Baby)
ECMA Nomination Album of the Year (Shaye/ The Bridge)
ECMA Nomination Group of the Year (Shaye)
ECMA Nomination Pop Recording of the Year (Shaye/ The Bridge)
ECMA Nomination Songwriter of the Year (Happy Baby)
ECMA Nomination Single of the Year (Happy Baby)

2004 ECMA AWARD Female Artist of the Year (davnet)
ECMA AWARD Pop/Rock Recording of the Year (davnet)
ECMA Nomination Single of the Year (Another California Song)
ECMA Nomination Songwriter of the Year (Another California Song)
Canadian Radio Mus