Francis Doughty | Under the Sky

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Folk: Fingerstyle Folk: Free-folk Moods: Solo Instrumental
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Under the Sky

by Francis Doughty

Original American Self-Styled 6- and 12-String Guitar Instrumentals, Kottke-schooled, Thrilling Fingerstyle Mixed with Evocative Guitar Ballads
Genre: Folk: Fingerstyle
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Pearl-Streaked Morning
2:06 album only
2. First Impressions
4:17 album only
3. Verendrye
0:31 album only
4. Blue Darter
4:29 album only
5. Sheebeg Sheemore (Carolan)
3:14 album only
6. (We're) Getting Closer
3:04 album only
7. Mole's Moan (Muldaur)
3:27 album only
8. Elusive Cranberries
3:16 album only
9. Busted Bicycle (Kottke)
2:52 album only
10. Steve's Pain
3:25 album only
11. Star Spangles on the Pond
5:00 album only
12. Embers
1:39 album only
13. As Clouds Dance with the Moon
3:38 album only


Album Notes
"One of the few local guitarists following in the demanding John Fahey/Leo Kottke mode...guitarist Francis Doughty is one of the best-kept secrets in town." (BOSTON HERALD)

Francis Doughty is an exciting folk instrumental guitarist who has been playing music since his early teens. Inspired by the likes of Leo Kottke, John Fahey, and a wide range of classical music, Doughty has used those influences to develop his own unique voice on the guitar, which ranges from the thrilling to the haunting.

"It takes a large talent to keep people listening when the only voice to be heard is that of a single instrument, even if it has 6 or 12 strings...Doughty uses his strings to get where he's songs that demonstate great range and tone...[they] come slowly with feeling, or they come in torrents." (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

Doughty's guitar-playing is riveting and instantly engages the audience. Indeed there are a lot of good 6- and 12-string players out there, but it is his masterful song-writing which makes Doughty a true standout.

Attending a Francis Doughty concert never fails to leave an audience enthralled. His shows present a mix of his own songs, several classic covers by Kottke, as well as arrangements of traditional or jazz pieces — and always a surprise or two. The counterpoint to his music is his endearing stage manner and colorful humor. He makes a genuine connection.

Showcase Performer at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival 2001 and 2004

"Francis Doughty paints pictures of New England with his guitar." (Jason Bovian, Here and Now, WBUR)

Francis has released two instrumental guitar CDs, Among Trees and Under the Sky, both receiving high praise from reviewers and fans - and he has been featured at venues throughout the Northeast. Doughty has shared the stage with or opened for Gordon Bok, Lui Collins, Tony Vacca, Don White, Adrienne Jones (of Mad Agnes), Kiernan Kane, Elliot Bronson, James Durst, Thea Hopkins and others. He has made numerous radio and several television appearances, including a feature on NPR's magazine show "Here and Now," taped at WBUR in Boston.

When Francis Doughty speaks through his guitar he transports the listener to another place. He comes at you with a wall of sound from his 12-string in songs such as: the highly-charged crowd-pleaser, We're Getting Closer, his equally energetic Pearl-Streaked Morning or Leo Kottke's epochal masterpiece, Morning is the Long Way Home. Tempering the fast paced favorites are the beautiful, evocative songs such as the Irish traditional song, Sheebeg Sheemore and the tender ballad Steve's Pain. The overall result is not just impressive — a Francis Doughty concert takes you on a memorable ride!

"[His] arrangements can blow blades of grass or fall like icy snow. More than words. You can easily lose yourself in Doughty's music..." (Worcester Magazine - Charlene Arsenault)



to write a review

Rog Gibbons

If you love good guitar, you'll love Francis Doughty
Francis Doughty's first CD was good, this one is excellent. The deep rich tone of the 12-stringer played well is a pleasure, and Francis Doughty's music is always varied and easy to listen to. As enjoyable the first time as the 20th time of hearing

Minor 7th (November/December 2002)

On his sophomore effort, Francis Doughty maintains the widely recognized excellence he displayed on his first outing. He has often been compared to Leo Kottke, and his version of Kottke's "Busted Bicycle" demonstrates why: he attacks the tune with his 12-string guitar, choosing to burrow through the base of the mountain rather than taking a meandering road around it (his analogy). He again reaches for the 12-string for Geoff Muldaur's "Mole's Moan" and for Carolan's "Sheebeg Sheemore". His choice of the 12-string for the Carolan composition is inspired (as is his arrangement of this Celtic chestnut) and suggests that the full sound of the 12 string is a natural stand in for the Irish harp. The balance of the album is devoted to ten of Doughty's compositions (he studied classical composition at University of Massachusetts). On these pieces, Doughty demonstrates that he has moved far beyond the influences of John Fahey and Leo Kottke to find his own voice, especially on "Pearl-Streaked Morning", "Steve's Pain", "Star Spangles on the Pond", and "Embers" (you can almost see the embers flickering when you hear the harmonics on this tune). This CD is exceptionally well recorded and produced, right down to the cover art, photography and liner notes. Highly recommended. (© Patrick Grant)

The Daily Hampshire Gazette (May 2002)

"Under the Sky" is a big place. When he gave that title to his new CD, Francis Doughty awarded himself lots of wandering-around room. He sets off into it with energy, focus and imagination in this lovely album of instrumental guitar pieces. He maps and takes possession of a big piece of ground, in songs that demonstrate great range and tone.

It takes a large talent to keep people listening when the only voice to be heard is that of a single instrument, even if it has six or 12 strings. Doughty, who lives in Wendell, brings a virtuosic handling of his instrument to his task here, sounding out many moods and adventures under that big sky. This is music that promotes reflection, as it teases moods from listeners.

By turns, the notes in "Under the Sky" come slowly with feeling, or they come in torrents. Either way, they come beautifully through in Doughty's deft handling of each composition, whether they are his own or borrowed. He follows the "Sheebeg Sheemore," a tip-toeing 18th-century Irish harp tune, with the luscious jangle of "(We're) Getting Closer," a song pent up with anxieties of arrival.

Fans of Leo Kottke have been known to venture that Doughty - who grew up listening to that 12-string master - can play just as well. Both leave a clear mark of authorship. What prompts a musician to advance and retreat across the long neck of a guitar? What moves him to tickle loose a harmonic note? Answer: artistry.

Doughty honors Kottke by playing his "Busted Bicycle." The song races, climbs and slides with grace. In his note on it, Doughty writes, "Likening guitar-playing styles to paths up a mountain, songs like this one ... point to another way: bore a tunnel through the base and run through it to get to the other side."

It figures that Doughty imagines himself traveling across, and through, these lands. In other hands, the ability to play this well might lead to works that glorify the orb of the guitar itself. Doughty uses his strings to get where he's going. Bring your disordered thoughts. Hs notes will comb them free.

Indie Music.Com (April 2002)

Francis Doughty is a Massachusetts farmer of sorts, tending large vegetable gardens and several animals when he's not playing music. After listening to his second release "Under the Sky," it's hard to imagine him doing anything BUT playing music.

"Under the Sky" is a 13-song CD of guitar instrumentals where Francis basically puts on a clinic. His fingerstyle melodies are flawless and the sound is amazingly clean and clear thanks to his co-producers: Laura (his spouse) and Bruce Kahn.

Francis composed 10 of the tunes. Of the other three he didn't write, two make it to the "best of" list: Geoff Muldaur's "Mole's Moan" (done by other instrumentalists, most notably by Tom Rush back in the '60's) and Leo Kottke's "Busted Bicycle." Francis' treatment of each is superb and you don't even care who wrote them. "Mole's Moan" is lush, flowing and rich in texture (done on 12-string) while he goes to the ultra-fast lane for "...Bicycle," written by of one of his greatest influences. In fact, if you didn't know this wasn't Kottke, you'd almost swear it was him. (But ol' Leo probably would use a slide on the tune and Francis doesn't do much if any of that on this CD).

Of his original tunes, the opener "Pearl-Streaked Morning" and the playful "We're Getting Closer" are the two best. In fact, the CD would be worth having just for those songs alone.

Most instrumental works have extensive liner notes and this CD is no exception. They are insightful and thoughtful. No amount of guesswork would match the exact interpretation of the artist's original intent, so this reviewer won't even try it. Each piece brings to mind different things to each individual and that is how it should be. (© Les Reynolds)

Marty F.

Beautiful recording, powerful playing, a great listen
The Taylor guitars sound amazing on this crystal clear recording from Francis Doughty. The musicianship and compositions are certain to grow on you. His interpretation of Leo Kottke's Busted Bicyle is a refreshing take on a classic gem. Great album!

Laura T Lynch of

Brilliant !
Deep in rural Wendell, Massachusetts is a homestead farm where Francis and Laura Doughty grow their own vegetables, cut their own fire wood and raise chickens. They have capture the essence of an idyllic New England lifestyle on their thirteen track CD entitled Under the Sky. Francis is a first-rate finger style guitarist who incorporates influences such as Leo Kottke and John Fahey into his own heartfelt sounds. Laura is credited with inspiring her husband's songwriting and co-producing his music. His music is bold and beautiful yet soft and simple. Surprising rich full sounds come from his six and twelve stringed instruments enhanced by a few accents such as horns, bongos and wooden frogs. Under the Sky is a perfect CD that includes great artwork and insightful liner notes.