Henry Doss
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Henry Doss

Band Americana Rock


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The best kept secret in music


HENRY DOSS - 'MARS' (single)
American musical maestro Henry Doss is an extraordinary songwriter. Self-selling this particular track, intriguingly, as 'a musical editorial,' 'Mars' is a catchy yet caustic ode to living life in the modern world. Backed by a stirring String arrangement and a great backbeat, the dark and brooding nature of the subject matter is far from gloomy or depressing. In fact, this is Alternative 'pop' music at its most involving and enthralling, as bountifully bluesy electric guitar solos wail in the background in the style of Santana.
Henry's staggeringly original approach to writing songs might force his audience to compare him to such revered geniuses as David Bowie, and Henry even goes so far as to incorporate a verse of lyrics delivered through the nearest, 'all-ears' Megaphone at hand.
'I'll kill you if you kill me; I might go insane.'
'Mars' is so damn cool that anything you ever hear subsequently will force you back down to dull earth with a bang.
(Steve Rudd)

- Steve Rudd

A musical match made in heaven...

The art of networking and making acquaintances is essential if you make music and harbour a deep desire to have your music heard by as many people as possible.

Henry Doss is a singer-songwriter from Michigan in the good old USA. Emma Rugg, you might have heard of already…

Starting from the start, Henry managed to get wind of the BBC's fantastic, Hull-based 'Raw Talent' radio show hosted by Alan Raw and he proceeded to mail some of his material long-distance across the Atlantic divide. Alan liked Henry's musical craftsmanship so much he resigned to playing it on the show. And cue Emma Rugg who, as far as I think I'm right (!), heard Henry's music, and who then got in touch with Henry.

A long story cut short, Henry heard Emma's sublime songwriting prowess and, with the help of the 'Raw Talent' show and some pretty sharp organizational skills, both singer-songwriters decided to hook up and record some stuff together.

Mmm. But Emma lives in Hull - and where does Henry live again? Oh, yeah… there he is - way over there, on the breezy shores of Lake Michigan, not too far away from the area in which the young Ernest Hemingway spent some of his childhood holidays, I'll have you know. (Well, that's the kind of information that becomes of being a massive fan of Michael Palin and, in this instance, his fascinatingly informative 'Hemingway's Adventure' journey).

But - just like Palin - neither Henry or Emma seemed determined to let the petty issue of the Atlantic Ocean get in their way, and Emma flew across to meet the man in person and to, ultimately, set her amazing vocals to some of Henry's songs.

Henry has actually only been taking his song writing, recording and performing seriously for the past four years. Before that time he'd led a successful career in banking, but obviously the attraction of being openly creative via the medium of music offered huge appeal for Henry. Since deciding to turn his back on banking (though he does do some 'consultations' in his spare time) he's released an album of tenderly soulful, Country-pop songs under the 'Remnants of A Conversation' umbrella. There are many elements to his wistfully arranged songs, with the two tracks that he re-worked with Emma being 'I've Been Thinking' and 'Lonely Child.'

'I've Been Thinking' is an infectiously upbeat anthem, nostalgic in its content and bursting forth with a rock riff of Ryan Adam's vibrant caliber. This, Henry says, is one of the first tracks that he sat down to write, with the lyrics been reflective and down-to-earth. 'Seems like most of my life gave me the slip.' The overall feel of the tune is wholesomely upbeat, and once the rock guitar solo kicks in it's high time for the listener to proudly scrunch up their nose in a 'mock rock' pose and to stamp their feet in salute.

The second track they worked on together, 'Lonely Child,' is much different in style; far less rocking and more bewitchingly charming. Acoustic based, this is shimmering, finger-picked bliss and subtly backed by bass, piano and a lilting string arrangement for emotion rousing measure. On both songs Henry and Emma sing together, but it's through 'Lonely Child' in particular that Emma's startlingly beautiful voice comes into its own as they duet on this track written about his oldest daughter ('I wish that you could find your way back home and you would understand that you are not alone'). Perfectly produced in every respect, the compassionate soul that oozes through every note might remind of the poignant music of towering Canadian songwriter James Keelaghan. There is a definite 'Country'-lilt to the music, though the sublime tunefulness - and intoxicating vocal chemistry between Henry and Emma - ensures Lonely Child's 'pop'-infused stature as a heart-rending duet like few others.

Both tracks did originally appear on the aforementioned album that Henry released, though Emma's presence is clearly felt on both these magical reworkings and we can only hope for more of the same in the future. Both tracks are also regular live favourites when Henry plays gigs with his backing band, and there might be a chance of a Rugg-Doss show collaboration as Summer '04 encroaches, for Henry is coming over from Michigan to the UK in order to indulge in another of his unbridled passions in life… and that's long distance walking with his wife.

Indeed, there could be ample opportunity for him to take some time out in Hull. And to 'play' as though there's no such thing as 'work' so long as you enjoy writing, recording and performing in front of audiences as much as Henry - and Emma - both sound to.

(Steve Rudd)

- Steve Rudd


Remnants Of A Conversation -- First, self-released CD. Available at www.henrydoss.com, cdstreet and CDBaby.

Two song EP recorded with UK-based singer songwriter Emma Rugg.

A "musical editorial" re-mixed, re-recorded version of Henry's song "Mars."

Eight-song live recording, January 2004.


Feeling a bit camera shy


The band associated with Henry Doss is comprised of seasoned, highly experienced professional musicians.
Henry Doss is a newcomer to the music scene. He retired from a successful banking career at the age of 49 to pursue a dream of writing, recording and performing neo-classical, progressive rock music. Henry writes all material, and provides rhythm guitar and lead vocals. Ray Smith, lead guitarist, grew up in the Detroit music scene. His influences come largely from the classic "rock blues" school. He is a versatile, skilled guitarist who provides both outstanding lead guitar work and beautiful acoustic phrasing for acoustic material. Al Jankowski provides keyboards and backing vocals. Al is a master of musical knowledge and performance. His principal background is in jazz, and he brings a depth and breadth of experience to the band that is extraordinary. Roger Tarczon provides percussion. Roger's drumming experience and range is vast, and includes a stint as David Crosby's tour drummer. Roger lives and breathes drums. John Hefty performs on bass and backing vocals. John's background is primarily classic blues material. He brings a powerful sense of musicianship and melody to the bass guitar and adds a dynamic element to composition. This band of newly aligned professionals is committed to creating and performing music that will leave its mark.