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Dougmore Invokes Emerson and Greek Mythology on 'Rhodora' (Video Premiere)

Photo by Lauren Desberg

Douglas Jay Goldstein is anything but ordinary when it comes to the American folk scene. As Dougmore, the artist paints vast aural tapestries filled with uncanny lyrics that quote pastoral poets, while roiling banjo haunts the depths of his sometimes fantastical tunes. The result is Outerboros, an album that's hard to pin down to any one genre due to its utter weirdness and unique sensibility.

The video for "Rhodora" is a perfect introduction to the Brooklyn songwriter. It showcases Dougmore's literary prowess through the well-crafted cardboard cutout animation of Christopher C.J. O'Connell and Ace Salisbury.

As Goldstein tells me over email, the song is inspired by Ralph Waldo Emerson's poem of the same name, an ode to a flower that "is a warning about the dangers of the fragmenting poetry of the male voyeuristic gaze in the mode of 'blason,' a descriptive cataloging of a woman's features that verbally tears her apart in rhapsody and rhyme. By invoking the myth of the young hunter Actaeon and his encounter with the divine Diana, I am able to capture this exchange between spectator and spectacle; as Actaeon's botched rite of passage transforms him into a stag, he is soon torn apart by his own hounds 'from horn to hoof' in a vengeful reversal of hunter come hunted."

While "Rhodora" is an undoubtedly highbrow expression of folk music, it's also a highly hummable song. Goldstein's straightforward singing voice is a well-rooted analog to the sweeping string arrangements and dramatic percussion. 

Dougmore's Outerboros comes out on June 2nd. If you're in the New York metro area, you can catch Dougmore performing at the Outerboros release show at Rockwood Music Hall on June 12.