“A one-man compendium of avant Americana.” – The New Yorker
As a child of Memphis, TN, Doug Wamble has always been surrounded by a vast musical and cultural landscape. From listening to his mother play piano in their Baptist church to his grandfather singing cowboy songs, murder ballads and old time gospel favorites while strumming his guitar, Doug has been immersed in music for his entire life.
After completing two music degrees, Doug decided to head to New York to seek a career as a guitarist and composer. Appearing on bandstands and recordings with such artists as Wynton Marsalis, Norah Jones, Steven Bernstein, Courtney Love, Madeleine Peyroux, and Cassandra Wilson, Doug was making a name for himself in the jazz world and beyond when he was signed to Branford Marsalis’ label, Marsalis Music/Rounder Records. Doug released two critically acclaimed records Country Libations and Bluestate, and decided a change was in order.
Focusing on being a singer/songwriter was never something Wamble had considered, but upon delving into this new direction, he found that something resonated with him. “I had self-identified as a jazz musician for so long that it was strange at first to put that aesthetic aside and refocus my energies into the craft of songwriting. And I also had been developing the skills needed to get into pop production as well as film-scoring. So I was able to pivot and find new avenues to keep me feeling that spark I felt when I first got into jazz.”
In 2009, Doug released his self-titled album on Koch/E1 records, and followed up in 2013 with another singer/songwriter album on his own Halcyonic Records imprint entitled Fast as Years, Slow as Days which was funded by a wildly successful PledgeMusic drive. “I never thought I was a good candidate for crowd funding, but I was humbled by the amount of people out there who wanted to help get the record made,” Wamble says. And in 2014 came Doug’s first all-instrumental recording, Rednecktelectual, which features his original compositions all performed on a single guitar, using non-traditional recording techniques and treating the resophonic guitar like a bass, a drum and a piano all at once. Two albums are completed and awaiting release in 2014 and 2015 in the form of an all-acoustic vocal and guitar record of new songs called For Anew, as well as an acoustic jazz record called The Traveler, which is a song cycle commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Building on his history with Wynton Marsalis, which led to guitar contributions to several Ken Burns documentaries for PBS such as Prohibition and Unforgivable Blackness, Doug began working as a composer for Burns’ Florentine Films, collaborating with Ken, his daughter Sarah, and David McMahon for the tragic film The Central Park Five. Wamble is currently at work on upcoming Florentine productions on Vietnam and Jackie Robinson.
Producing is another job Doug relishes, and it can be heard and felt by listening to the debut recording by Epic recording artist Morgan James on her album, Hunter. Doug co-wrote many of the songs, which feature an exciting mix of modern pop and classic soul, bound by Morgan James’ stunning vocals. “I never thought I’d produce a major label pop record, but I love the process, from writing that first note to listening on mastering day. It’s such a joy to make a real record from start to finish.”
The future holds a full plate with a full spectrum of projects for Doug this year. A new duo project with acclaimed percussionist Mino Cinelu, performances at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, in Europe with New Orleans piano master Henry Butler, and all over the globe with Morgan James to promote Hunter.