In a career that began in the Vancouver independent music scene in the early 1980's, over the years Doug Andrew has shared the stage with everyone from the Ramones to Raffi to Ramblin' Jack Elliott. Beginning with bands like Shanghai Dog (2 vinyl releases: 1984's Clanging Bell EP & 1985's This Evolution LP) he has continued to write songs and is today recognized as an accomplished singer-songwriter respected by critics, peers and music fans alike.
His latest CD, A Little Bit of Gasoline, recorded with his band The Circus In Flames has drawn rave reviews, being hailed as "Brilliant. 9 out of 10" by Americana UK. It follows The Circus in Flames self-titled debut disc which was described by Dirty Linen as "a strong argument for indie release of the year" in addition to earning four stars from America's All Music Guide. As well, C.B.C. Radio has nationally broadcasted the band in concert and has consistently aired both CDs on a number of programs.
Most recently, The Circus In Flames joined such artists as former Byrd Chris Hillman, Blue Rodeo, Gordon Lightfoot and Jennifer Warnes on The Gift: A Tribute To Ian Tyson released by Stony Plain Records and distributed by Warner Music. The group was honoured to welcome legendary steel guitarist Buddy Cage (New Riders Of The Purple Sage, Great Speckled Bird, Bob Dylan's Blood On The Tracks) onto their version of the Tyson classic, Someday Soon, which the Toronto Star chose as the Top Track after rating the album 3½ out of 4 Stars.
Andrew formed The Circus In Flames in the mid-90's when asked to perform at a friend's St. Patrick's Day bash. It has since grown to include various players, frequently touring Western Canada, appearing at several folk and music festivals and garnering critical acclaim. The group's "unique but rooted musical vision" (Vue Weekly) has inspired the description "garage string band" but its sound can be difficult to pin down. Although there is a certain familiarity about the music, stemming from its roots in traditional country, folk, and blues, at its heart are Andrew's songs. Their "slightly twisted, always interesting storyline lyrics" are delivered "with an energetic thrust that falls just shy of reckless abandon" says Peter North of The Edmonton Journal. He is "an untapped talent for wryly observant story-like essays" writes The Vancouver Province's Tom Harrison while Warren Footz of See Magazine says Andrew's songs "should shuffle him off into the Canadian musical songwriting hierarchy". They stand on their own, performed solo on guitar, or can work within the context of a band.
"Sheet metal country," Doug Andrew describes the music. "It bangs and rattles and booms, generally making a fair amount of noise, but it can also be light and quiet. It can go from sounding like a runaway locomotive thundering down the mountain without any brakes, to a wind slipping through the forest at midnight."