Doug Young,
Laurel Mill
(self-produced, 2003)

Laurel Mill, a CD released by Doug Young, is one of the better acoustic fingerstyle guitar CDs I've run across in a long while. Sometimes letting a solo acoustic guitar entertain by itself can be very comforting, relaxing and downright mood changing. How can you not just slow down and take a time out when you listen to music like this?

Laurel Mill contains 15 tracks, or just over 47 minutes of music. Most selections are Young originals, but there are a few covers on which Doug puts his own touch. Whether an original, cover or traditional piece, Doug does not have a bad track in the lot.

The Beatles' "I Will" is simply a beautiful song in its own right. Doug stays true to the original sentiment as he shares his interpretation of this classic. My only disappointment with the tune is that, at less than 2 minutes, it is the shortest on the CD. Just long enough time to draw you in for a moment of quiet reflection before moving on to a faster-paced track.

The title track, "Laurel Mill," is a tranquil piece inspired while working at a workshop at the Laurel Mill Lodge, in the Santa Cruz mountains. The melody meanders lightly about inviting you to drop all worries as you get caught up in the music. This track is the longest, clocking in at 3 minutes 50 seconds.

Doug's version of the traditional tune "Shenandoah" is another example of his expertise on acoustic guitar. This timeless piece is presented in all its majesty and then some. Doug's arrangement is the most touching I've heard. If you know of a better interpretation, please let me know.

Doug Young has been playing guitars since he was a teenager. Whereas he once focused on electric guitar to play rock, he has mellowed with age and now exclusively performs on acoustic instruments. Originally from Ohio, he now lives in the San Francisco Bay area. If you like acoustic guitar, I think you will find this album worth your time.

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 20 December 2003

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