Stuart Douglas
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Stuart Douglas


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"Eden Slips Away Review"

Whenever I Listen to a cd I do so with a sense of dread. Let me explain. See, when I hear the first song and it's great; I wait with baited breath for the next song hoping it's as good. If the next song is good, then I fear the third song will be the one that goes bad.

This continues until the cd is over, or until I finally get to that song in which all the ideas that the artist had and tried to convey simply fall apart.

The good news…no the GREAT news here is that, that song never comes on "Eden Slips Away ". I finished the cd and then listened to it again to be sure and I can report that this one is great from the first drum roll through to the last fading echo that comes almost an hour later.

I've been a casual fan of Stuart Douglas for several years, having enjoyed his work with Latenight Breakfast in the 90's and even his out of print first album, "Pocket Savior".

His last studio album, "Walking In On America ", came out almost 6 years ago and it was a brilliant step forward from his earlier work.

"Eden Slips Away " is yet another leap forward.

Stuart Douglas has never sounded better or more assured than he does here. The album opens strong with "City Of The Lost " which views our country and our world through post apocalyptic glasses, while still managing to sound upbeat.

One of the high points of the cd (of which there are many) comes next with "Mystery ". This is a tale of loving someone from afar that is both concise and heartbreaking. It also features one of the greatest guitar solos that Prince never performed.

Douglas has became a great story teller and that talent is in evidence on "Setting Sun" a song that could be the soundtrack for Cormack McCarthy's Pulitzer Prize winning "The Road". It tells the story of a bleak existence in which hope itself seems to have taken leave.

But it's here that Mr. Douglas proves his real talent. He starts off bleak, but then halfway through the song, the rays of hope split through the darkness and the listener is elevated right along with the protagonist of the song.

I could go into great detail about every song on this cd, but then this wouldn't be a review, it would be a book, so let me just hit the high points…

"Falling Down Again" and "Goodnight, Mona Lisa" are rockers. They are full of hooks and sing-a-long choruses that seem custom made to be heard at 100 decibels in an arena.

" Goodnight, Mona Lisa" in particular is a standout. I'm not sure if Stuart is doing all the backing vocals or not, but the last 45 seconds of this song is a rip roaring good time.

The sweet and gentle "Secret heart" is a gem. I can imagine an endless line of open mikers covering it, but I doubt they will get the tone anywhere near as right as Stuart.

Now lest you think this is a love letter to this cd, I will take a minute to tell you where I think it misses the mark.

Granted, these are small complaints, but I thought " Garden Of Eden" overstated it's case a little. It tries a little too hard to sell the forbidden love angle. Not in the lyrics, but in the production. But then again, in a world where "Every Thing I Do ( I Do It For You )" is a world wide smash, what do I know?

"Brokentown" feels a tad forced, but by the 2nd chorus I was won over. Douglas is an amazing guitar player and if I were as good as he is, I would turn every ballad into the end of "Purple Rain", but Stuart shows remarkable control. The short guitar work in "Brokentown" is so tasty and beautiful that I found myself rewinding it over and over just to savor every lick.

"Welcome To Paradise" is a full tilt rocker about the illusion of Hollywood and how it eats it's young.

Now we come to the final two songs in my review and they are also my favorite songs on the cd.

"Need" is a song that sneaks up on you. It is the story of a love lost and the battle that is fought both to give up the fight, and to hang on to the memories of what was. It is absolutely beautiful. It works on every level.

In a world of throw-away bands like Fall Out Boy and Sum 41, with their over enunciation of every word, it's a wonderful experience to hear a singer who has something in his voice that those other bands lack: Emotion.

Not the fake "Emo", cry into my latte, I'm 17 and no one has ever had it as hard as me, garbage that passes for emotion these days. No, Stuart Douglas has real emotion in his voice. Real heartbreak and real despair. And it shines through on "Need" in a way that leaves me breathless. When his voice breaks on the last refrain of "all I need" amidst the wall of music and voices, your heart breaks right along with it.

The last official song on the cd (there is a bonus, hidden track) is a doozy. At first it seems like the last song doesn't belong here at all. Like it is the first song on another darker, more sinister album, but after a couple of plays, it is the perfect capper for the cd.

That song is "Evil World".

It tells the story of a serial killer and his string of victims from the standpoint of the killer. As far as I can tell, it is the only song that doesn't feature real drums, using instead a drum loop. That in itself is jarring, but then we get to the lyrics and all bets are off.

I'm not going to quote the lyrics here, that is a pleasure that I wont spoil, but I will tell you this: it weaves a tale of darkness and evil that will stay with you for a long time. Yet for all it's darkness, it is constructed with such beauty that you find yourself going back to it again and again.

In the past, Stuart has worked with other musicians in the studio and he has done some projects by himself, performing all of the instruments himself. The copy I got of the cd was an advance copy and didn't have liner notes, so I don't know where this fits into that, but everything here, from the guitar to the backing vocals, and everything in between is almost flawless.

My only complaint with this cd, and it's only a small one, is that I wish it had more guitar work. I have had the chance to see Stuart Douglas live a couple times and he really is an amazing player. I only wish there was more of that here. But, maybe he will release a live album someday and then I'll get my wish. Until then I can honestly say that I was stunned with how good this cd is. The writing and arrangements are all top notch and the production is crisp and not too busy.

On a scale of 1-10, I give this one a solid 9.

- Songster

"Eden Slips Away"

Stuart Douglas
Eden Slips Away
By: Jennifer Neal

Stuart Douglas sounds like someone you'd hear crooning away in a southern bar and the best thing about that is that you can truly feel his lyrics and heartfelt notes as he bleeds his soul out to the public through his music.

His second album, Eden Slips Away, gives one a sense of the open road. From track one to the very end the album captures the essence of a young man on a journey. A journey through his past, his present, his heartaches, his love, and his appreciation for the life handed to him through the good times and the bad.

The cd opens with a rockin' tune titled "City of the Lost" and it really sets the stage for the whole album. It's like the opening chapter to what could possibly be the book of Stuart Douglas' life. The album has it's share of love songs such as "Mystery", "Need" and "Goodnight Mona Lisa" painting pictures of the bitter and the sweet side of the rise and fall of relationships.

"Brokentown" and "Falling Down Again" are two songs where you can truly feel the heartache that Mr. Douglas has experienced in his life.

The album sometimes sounds misleading because the upbeatness of the music gives you a feel that the songs might be about good times and good times alone, but taking time to truly look into the lyrical content of the entire album is definitely worth it.

"Garden of Eden" gives a sense of hope to lost romantics everywhere and the album ends on a sad note with "Evil World" that just keeps the listener clamoring for a sequel to this story that Stuart Douglas has given to them through Eden.

Douglas has an original voice that sounds so natural and the backing vocals just add to the essence of the music. All songs were written by Douglas except for "City of the Lost" which was written by Douglas and Jess Murdock. The album was produced and mixed by Eric Watters and you can tell by the quality of the sound that this entire cd is a work of dedication. It is definitely one to bring along on road trips and worth listening to while the wind is blowing and your windows are rolled down. Truly an album worthy of any folk or alternative rock fan's collection.

- Jennifer Neal Review


Walking In On america ( full length album) 2001
Eden Slips away (full length album ) 2007
Never Stop Loving You ( single) 2008

"Never stop loving you "and the entire "eden slips away" album havr recieved air play on wljs 92j jacksonville. I was named as their "you oughta know" artist in July 2008
"City Of The Lost" has recieved airplay on Indie radio Chattanooga.
"Mystery" is currently being played on clear channel's New Music



I have been greatly infliuenced by Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, David Bowie, The Killers, Johnny Cash,Queen,Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, U2 and many others.
I have very strong lyrics with pop sensibilitys. I have played in thr biggest clubs in the southeast and have gotten many great reviews.