Mike Doughty set for Mountain Stage
Mike Doughty remembers his first favorite song – John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
“When I was three, I listened to John Denver’s greatest hits, on one of those big shoebox cassette players you used to see in school libraries,” he recalls. “I lay in the back of a massive green 1970s Oldsmobile, pressing the shoddy mono speaker up to my ear.”
He pays tribute to this classic on his new covers album, “The Flip is Another Honey,” along with guest vocalist Rosanne Cash.
Breaking the cover-album rules, Doughty performs a second Denver classic, “Sunshine.” The treatment of this track sets the album’s tone, with Doughty rapping around samples of Denver’s voice.
“I was surprised to hear that the John Denver estate was really stoked about the way I used the sample,” he says.
Doughty’s distinguished voice and style put an original spin on songs by artists as disparate as Randy Newman, Cheap Trick, and Stephen Sondheim. “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat” is a straightforward version of the song from the musical “Guys and Dolls.”
Three tracks on “The Flip is Another Honey” – the title, taken from a 1956 review of a Jerry Lee Lewis single, means “the b-side is also fantastic” – are recorded live in the studio with Doughty’s collaborators, keyboardist “Cashmere” Dan Chen and cellist Andrew “Scrap” Livingston.
On each of the remaining tracks, Doughty himself plays, or programs, every sound. “It’s just me, with a pair of headphones, working obsessively 14 hours a day. It’s absorbing, obsessive, detail-oriented craftsmanship,” he explains. “It makes me extremely happy.”
Fans can expect to hear at least one John Denver song at Mike Doughty’s Mountain Stage performance, at the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre in Morgantown, WV on Sunday, November 11.
- For tickets and information, visit www.mountainstage.org.