Doug Sheridan’s haunting tones for Passionfruit

To be compared with the likes of Thom Yorke and Jeff Buckley is many a young singer’s dream.

But the comparisons sit lightly with Doug Sheridan. The Dublin-based singer-songwriter, who plays in Athlone’s Passionfruit Theatre next weekend, has no problem naming his influences.

“Radiohead are a massive influence on me, and I could picture the same people who are into Radiohead getting into my stuff. I am a music fan, and the first thing I do when I hear someone new is think: it’s like so and so. Like I listen to Jeff Buckley and think: he’s a Zeppelin fan,” says Doug.

‘Haunting’ is a word frequently used to describe Doug’s style of music. His debut album Songs From Just Outside The House, soon to be re-released, is loosely based around a number of characters living in a small town, and how they feel about their lives.

“The haunting feel is very deliberate. The songs are about a small group of people in a small town. I got bored writing about myself. There’s only so many times you can break up with a girl.

“I thought writing about other people would give me more scope. I could make myself old or young, male or female. It gives the music a sense of place or a landscape. Some of the people are kind of broken, and that’s where the haunting sound comes from.”

Although his visit to Passionfruit next Friday February 27 will be his first time to play in Athlone, he says it “looks like a cool venue”. The gig forms part of a nationwide ‘miniature tour’ to coincide with the release of the deluxe version of his album Songs From Just Outside The House.

The audience can expect to mainly hear tracks from his album, as well as some new songs. “The show is very energetic even though the music is quite low key. I want people to have a laugh.”

Although the album was released in mid-2008, Doug is bringing out a deluxe edition in April, which includes two new tracks and a new version of one of the original songs. “It’s a stronger album,” he says.

“I brought out the album last year but it was only made available to people who already knew me. I didn’t do a big push on it.”

However the early months of 2009 will see Doug hit the road to bring his music further afield. “I’ve been doing Dublin shows and they’ve been packing out really well. I wanted to get to play to people around the country. It’s been great so far, different to Dublin, there’s a different feel. My music seems to suit sit-down, intimate venues so Passionfruit sounds perfect. It starts off very low key and then goes a bit mad at the end.”

While Doug is currently concentrating on the Irish tour, he also plans to take his album on the road in the UK in the near future. He might try to record another album in between, but reckons he is under no pressure to record just yet. “Hopefully this album has a bit of mileage yet. I want to give it as good a go as possible,” he adds.

As for the glowing reviews he’s been collecting recently, with critics lauding his “poignant lyrics”, “beautiful melodies”, and “incredibly addictive voice”, he is not one to fuss. “I like my music and it’s nice to hear others do too. I don’t need it but it is nice to hear it.”

The new single from Doug, ‘Wait A While’, is now available on iTunes, while ‘I Knew I Wouldn’t Sleep Tonight’ will feature on the soundtrack to the film Outside of Heaven, to be released later this year.

Doug Sheridan plays in Passionfruit Theatre, Athlone next Friday February 27 at 8.30pm. Tickets are €15. Tel (086 ) 3338457 or email [email protected].

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