Consoling' is the word most often used to characterize Fred Doubleday's unique approach to music, utilizing, as one reviewer put it, his 'adept piano artistry and rich baritone voice.' [The odd numbered tracks include Vocals (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) and the rest are Instrumentals]. Some of Fred's inspiration comes from the poems his late grandmother penned in her beloved Vermont. Eva Clark Doubleday wrote 'White Birches' and 'Lilacs, ' lovely reflections on the Creator's world which Fred has set to music. Other lyrics come from Fred himself, with a little help from his wife Louise on 'Mary Magdalene', a song that sublimely commemorates the Lord's arising from the dead from the point of view of the first witness of the Resurrection. 'Sleep My Child', written as Fred rocked his son Kevin to sleep one night, expresses the reassurance found in Christ. 'The Good Seed' gives perspective to the Lord's parable about the 'sower who went out to sow' and our differing responses to the Word. Fred has performed with many groups over the years. After college he spent time in California and Boston where he took an interest in folk music, especially that of the Irish and Scottish genre, and took up the penny whistle. That Celtic influence can be heard in several numbers on 'White Birches'. THE VERMONT STANDARD SAYS: WOODSTOCK NATIVE PUTS GRANDMOTHER'S POETRY TO MUSIC BY DICK TRACY THE VERMONT STANDARD FEB/2004 Eva Clark Doubleday was born in Woodstock in 1885 and lived here her entire life until she passed away in 1971. In addition to being the progenitor of one of the town's most noteworthy Twentieth Century families, Mrs. Doubleday also created throughout her lifetime a collection of poetry, perhaps more correctly referred to as poetic thoughts, many of which appeared from time to time in The Vermont Standard. Two of those poems, 'White Birches' and 'Lilacs' have been set to music by her grandson, Fred Doubleday, Jr, in a recently released CD by the same title. 'White Birches' was on the wall in our home when I was growing up' says Doubleday. 'I've always loved the sentiment'. Silhouetted against the sunset At the close of a winter day Stands a row of white birches Quietly on display. All in perfect alignment On the brow of a little hill; With the cold white snow around them And the hush of the day - so still. Such wondrous beauty to gaze on There in that flaming light - Lovely Angels of the Forest Clad in their robes of white. Lovelier far than in summer - Clothed in their dresses of green Now, their delicate branches Like lace work can be seen. I gaze in ecstatic wonder 'Til it's graven on memory's eye And thank God for the beautiful picture Of white birches 'gainst golden sky. It is images such as this that the younger Doubleday has cast to music with his adept piano artistry and his rich baritone. Those musical skills were honed during his youth in the family homes both on Maple Street and later on a hill above the South Woodstock road. As that musical ability became more and more developed, there were a number of rock bands during his high school days and into college. Fred was always the organizer, singing many of the leads and always playing keyboards, although along the way he became a pretty fair guitarist as well. The CD is subtitled 'Reflections in piano and voice' which aptly described the balance of the collection. If those 'reflections' have a consistent theme, it's one of gratitude. In the Eva Clark Doubleday poem, 'Lilacs' now set to music, she demonstrates her gratefulness to those unknown: Did you ever think when the Spring is here, And the blossoms scent the air, That wherever a lilac hangs it's plumes Filling the air with sweet perfumes, Some hand has planted it there? ... They speak of days both here and gone, And loved ones, fond and true, The thought is just too deep for words, The lilacs bring to you. 'Those words - and those of White Birches - paint such a beautiful picture', says Doubleday. 'I like promoting and preserving the sentiment.' Other numbers provide insight into Doubleday's love - and gratitude - for his family and of his deep religious faith. Piano instrumental numbers are entitled after his wife, Louise, his daughter, Meredith, and his son, Kevin. Three songs have lyrics with Christian themes. 'The Good Seed', an original composition now almost twenty years old, is especially moving. 'Sleep My Child' was written as he rocked his son to sleep in his infancy, and expresses the reassurance found in Christ. Louise Doubleday helped with the lyrics to 'Mary Magdalene', a song which sublimely commemorates the Resurrection: 'forever changed will the life of Mankind be'. Doubleday produced this highly polished collection personally and the studio work is impeccable. He wrote and performed all the vocals, over-dubbing the penny whistle. A few tunes feature a flute arrangements written by Fred and performed by a family friend. But mostly this multi-generational work is Doubleday start to finish, starting in 1885 and culminating now, in 2004. 'At age 14, my grandmother's last words to me were 'Fred, do something with your music.' I'm glad to be able to say that I have.
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