From the gritty, primal rhythms to the lingering, sweet slide of steel guitar; and from the soulful roots of jazz to the vintage romance of classical guitar – and so much more – the music of Fathers & Sons takes you places you never thought you would go.
“Sometimes it sounds like you’re kind of floating above the music … to places you’ve never been in before,” Doug Cox says, describing his experience as an instrumentalist/sidem
an in Fathers & Sons.
Music is taking him to places around the globe, as well.
“It’s taken me around the world to places I would never have dreamed I would go to.
“It’s given me a much-wider vision of what’s going on, on this planet.
“It’s given me confidence to develop my own voice.”
Those places include Europe and much of the U.S. and Canada. He foresees it taking him to India, Saudi Arabia … and, he hopes, to Africa and Japan.
Travel provides an opportunity to “teach each other about our cultures. The world’s getting smaller all the time,” Cox explains. “All the different cultures and styles of music are coming together.
“That’s certainly what I’m most excited about in music these days …”
Fathers & Sons is more than men who travel together and enjoy each other’s music: Jim Byrnes (lead singer/frontman) and Amos Garrett, whom Cox refers to as one of the “all-time great sidemen” impart their wisdom and musical inspiration to the group.
Metaphorically, the four have become fathers and sons.
“As a musician, whenever you get a chance to work with musicians who are older than you, they become your mentors.
“Amos is the only man alive today [that I know of] who really invented a style of playing. It’s a multiple string-bending on the electrical guitar.”
His esteem for Garrett’s sweet legacy is expressed in a triad of admiration, respect and amazement: “He [Amos] has a million stories about being on the road. I learn a lot from him every time I go out with him.”
Steve Dawson, another sideman in the group, is the other “son”.
“Steve and I have kind of had parallel careers and have remained friends and colleagues for all these years.”
Cox says that with Dawson, Byrnes and Garrett, he expects to hit a “deeper musical level.
“It’s about the guitar-playing and it’s about the quality of the solos.”
Fathers & Sons is touring for the first time together in Alberta, B.C., then to the Yukon; but each of them are veteran “road dogs”.
Cox chuckles low and heartily at the term.
“We’ve all spent a lot of time out there travelling. I play with five groups right now. Steve plays with several groups. And Jim is a famous actor … he’s a TV star.” And Amos? Cox has heard Amos say, “‘I can finally “afford” to play jazz.'”
Then Cox adds, “You give up a lot at home to be out playing.”
When asked what the icing on the cake is in all this, he replies without missing a beat: “My kids and my family.”
From a musical standpoint, Cox says it is about “getting better as a player, playing at deeper levels, playing with the best musicians in the world – playing with people I never dreamed of playing with.”
Where will the music of Fathers & Sons take them in the future?
Well, Cox says they have been asked to do a tour in Ontario and they will definitely do an album.
And, he adds, “The CBC is recording us for national broadcast.”
Fathers & Sons will perform in “A ‘Once in a Lifetime’ collaboration and concert tour” on Nov. 29 at the Yukon Arts Centre.
It will be roots, jazz, gospel, Hawaiian, country and more – a fusion – Cox says, from “blues to swing, to gospel-y stuff … all kinds of music from all over the world … music of different cultures”.
Tickets are available at the YAC Box Office and Arts Underground.