A Band of Brothers from Go Triad, Sept 16th, 2010
Mark Dougherty reaches over the table to pet an 80-pound mutt as the three members of his band, The Lake Isle, sit politely waiting their turn to speak.
Dougherty, a Greensboro-based singer/songwriter has declined a one-on-one interview. He has performed alone too long, finally finding peace and unity in this band of brothers.
After years of playing Greensboro as a solo act, Dougherty yearned to be in a band.
Once his music label fell apart, Dougherty began playing with an acoustic group that saw early success.
So Dougherty moved on with a firmer resolve to take his music more seriously.
That eventually led to Dougherty reinventing himself.
“I gave myself a rebirth under the name The Lake Isle, after Yeats’ poem about a man searching for his inner peace in a world of chaos — the theme of all my music,” Dougherty says.
He had a band name. Now, all he needed was some members. And on a night last spring, he found the first one.
That’s when Dougherty met Shawn Smith, drummer for Filthybird, which was playing its last gig together.
One of the band members mentioned that Dougherty was looking for a group so Smith approached him, and they started playing.
Smith recorded Dougherty’s guitar and vocals and later added drums, bass and keyboards.
“I had no real direction in mind, just trying to let things float out of me, and we kind of created a sound,” Smith says. “We tried a few guitar players, but they weren’t willing to take that leap into that sonic realm.”
Hoping to make the songs more interesting, Smith decided to play guitar himself.
Andy Foster, formerly with the Raving Knaves and Manamid, came on board as a percussionist. Chris Micca, a longtime bass player and backup vocalist to bands such as Crystal Bright, completed the group.
During a recent rehearsal, Foster can’t constrain himself between songs, ripping his drums every chance he gets.
“Andy’s a loud drummer and we will have to base everything behind that,” Smith deadpans.
Foster’s sticks clack as Dougherty steps to the mike to sing the lyrics to the haunting “Steel Rails,” the first track on the band’s new album, “Wake Up.”
“I should know, oh I should
that it’s all about letting go
but these old ways, oh they burn
these lies that come over and over me.”
With Micca’s expansive harmonies and tight thumping bass, the band is creating the “warm, sonic pallet,” that fuels Dougherty.
Micca and Foster exchange smiles as the song ends.
“The songs get better and better all the time, especially the new ones,” Smith says. “It’s working, it’s really working.
“S’working,” Foster says, nodding.
Dougherty says the difference in being in a band like The Lake Isle versus playing solo is that there is no agenda other than to play the music.
“It’s about looking around at every person practicing music in this room and seeing a look in their eyes that says they love this music.
“I call it a brotherhood. It’s something really magical and great.”
Contact Carole Perkins at CPGuilford@aol.com
last month i had the pleasure of listening to one of greensboro’s newer bands The Lake Isle play a set at The Green Bean. at the time my band was loading in, and admittedly my first concern wasn’t paying attention to a set by another band i hadn’t heard of. but i was caught off guard and pleasantly surprised and ended up really enjoying their set. on their blog they give themselves the “dream pop” label but i’m not sure that does them justice, they employ a lot of really beautiful and simultaneously nervous textures in their songs that challenge the “pop” part of that description and push them into alternative territory. additionally, their guitarist was getting some cool atmospheric tones with his POG2 pedal that i haven’t yet to figured out how to achieve. maybe he’ll give me some lessons.
yesterday, the band posted a new entry on their site previewing a new track entitled “Steel Rails.” like the first track “Virginia” (which you can listen to here) on their previous LP Terrible Beauties, “Steel Rails” uses spaced-out guitars to reinforce the nervous energy of the vocals, and when the drums & bass make their tight entrance, they round out the equation for a great listen. i was surprised at the sonic bigness of the sound they were able to achieve at the Green Bean, and that characteristic carries through on their recordings as well. check their myspace for more listening and show dates, including another appearance at the Green Bean in september with a cool band from winston.
I was really excited when a fellow North Carolinian emailed me with music. Normally it’s searching the web, looking all around the US and overseas for music I may like, but it’s nice when someone in your own backyard gets some exposure and even better when they contact me directly.
Mark Dougherty is out of Greensboro, North Carolina and he plays a clever blend of acoustic music. You know that really great soft song on every indie rock album, the one that you wish there was more of, well Dougherty succeeds on creating an album full of them. In the vein of Mark Kozelek and the Red House Painters, the first thing I noticed when listening to Mark’s music was his skills as a songwriter. You can tell from the first few lines that he is a poet at heart as he pours his soul for all to hear. The instrumentation on the album is equally impressive as it provides the perfect backdrop for Dougherty’s vocals to shine.
While his previous lp, Shadows In The Light, plays more to the acoustic folk side, his most recent release, In Dreams, is a perfect blend of an enriched acoustic sound and the subtle touches of a studio atmosphere. Mark wanted to play off the theme of dreams, what’s experienced when we dream and how they clue us into our inner life. In Dreams is a great listen and below is a track from each of his releases with links to purchase.