Paul Doffing - Songs From The (Quaking) Heart (Self Released)

Alt. folk singer in the Guthrie/Seeger tradition issues third LP

Released May 30th, 2015 / By Erick Mertz
Paul Doffing - Songs From The (Quaking) Heart (Self Released) “I’m not a legend/the land is a legend/fame is a snare put there by the modern world.” If there is a better, clearer summation of Paul Doffing’s cause driven album, Songs From The (Quaking) Heart then I haven’t found it yet.

The third studio recording from the folk artist is brimming with personal insight, from the eradication of life through nuclear fall out, to consumer culture, to the general depressing haze of our go-go lifestyle. Doffing, an artist who literally lives his ideals, touring the Midwest by bicycle, focuses on the temporary nature of our human experience and mines simplicity for thought provoking gems.

Musically, his album is fairly bare-boned and quite often bleak. Most places features Doffing with his guitar and wearied voice. On a few tracks, like the opener, “Reason” the vocals are affected. The last track, “Nuclear Radiation” introduces an electric guitar. Otherwise though, the formula is simple and his message resonates as a result. When the dark tones become almost too much, Doffing offers “Slow I Go” a bright track that sustains his message further.

Doffing delivers folk in the way that Seeger and Guthrie and even, to an extent, Dylan intended, ask a lot of questions, allow the listener to formulate their own answers. Who cares if that approach is on the nose? Clearly Doffing doesn’t and each time through I’m forced to the recognition that I don’t know the solution.