Sewanee Mountain Messenger

PRESS RELEASE                                                    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE




Doctornorm, local clinical psychologist and University of the South professor, has released a new CD of 13 original songs and one cover tune (which contains a new verse written by doctornorm). The title of the CD is The Message is the Music and features doctornorm on vocals, acoustic and electric guitar and five-string banjo. Kent Silvey, who engineered the project at Da House Recording Studioin Ringgold, Georgia, plays bass, piano and keyboards. He and Philip Hare of Atlanta do the backing vocals. Jo Whitacre plays drums and percussion.


Other local musicians from the southeast area include Fletcher Bright of The Dismembered Tennesseans, playing fiddle, Tom Haskett on dobro, Jay Craven on clarinet and Jay Stanfill on trumpet, trombone and flugelhorn. Warren Brady plays blues harp.


Doctornorm has been performing since age 15 when he and Dru Schenck formed a rock band with three friends who were students at Sewanee Military Academy. He subsequently played in a very successful folk group, The Innside Five. This group competed against 75 other bands in Tennessee to win a recording contract with Dot Records. Their single, “Going Away for to Leave You,”was released nationwide.


Doctornorm has performed for years on the mountain, having played at Moonshine Maggie’s, Lorena’s Coffee Shop, Smoke’n B’s Barbecue, The Smokehouse, and private house concerts. He has played in Chattanooga at the Southern Gentleman’s Steak House, Sugar’s Ribs, Meo Mio’s, and MaGoos. He has performed for several national conventions in Nashville as well as in Kansas City, Missouri. Last year he performed at the Smoky Mountain Songwriters Festival at Loco Burritos in Gatlinburg. Most recently he has performed at Local’s Bar & Grill in Ackworth, Georgia, Fahrenheit’s Pub & Grill in Panama City Beach, Florida, and The Celtic Cup in Tullahoma.


Doctornorm’s official CD Release Party is scheduled for Saturday, April 25, 2015, from 7:00-10:00 pm at The Village Tavern in Sewanee. The $15 cover charge includes a copy of the CD, a digital download card of the entire album, BOGO beer, free wine, and free hors d’oeuvres. Additional singer/songwriters performing include Bob DeYoung, Amy Beville and Mitch Collins.                 


Doctornorm’s CD is available online at CDBaby,, iTunes, Rhapsody, Spotify and other outlets. Please visit his website to hear the CD and view pictures and video.


Artist: doctornorm

Album: The Message is the Music

Review by Alec Cunningham


Otherwise known as G. Norman West, musician Doctornorm claims to have the cure for anything that ails you. How does he do this, you may ask? In the simplest explanation, he accomplishes this by presenting lighthearted ditties that carry a real truth to them. Along with that, he employs quirky album titles such as “Am I in Love or Just in Heat Again,” “Jesus is Coming and Boy is He Pissed,” and “Effin’ Exes.”

Much like all things creative, the inspiration for these songs too stems from life situations. For instance, “Jesus is Coming and Boy is He Pissed” was inspired by something as simple as a saying on a t-shirt. That says loads about his writing abilities, but what’s more impressive is that he’s able to put proper music to those words. This particular track even carries a choir backing, providing a sense of depth and sincerity.

Sometimes his lyrics can be raunchy, as in “Am I in Love or Just in Heat Again,” other times they can be heartbreaking and genuinely delve into the heart of a matter, such as in “I’m Leaving Him.” Whatever the case may be, the instrumentation is always top-notch. There is piano, banjo, and of course doctornorm’s trusty guitar in every nook and cranny.

There’s a nostalgia to his music that can be found not necessarily in the lyrics but in the old-fashioned style of blues instrumentation used. “Needlepoint Blues” was created in the same love-struck-blues-ballad style as James Taylor’s “Steamroller,” except this track happens to be about a strung out Vietnam veteran and his love for medicated living.

“Brother of the Wind” is composed of the type of beautiful instrumentation that you can tell was deliberated over and carefully written. Similarly, “Communications Breakdown” displays impressive instrumental talent along with featuring vivacious banjo picking at the forefront of the action along with a fiddle coming in later that has no problem keeping up with the action. Upon first listen it draws parallels with the Beverly Hillbillies theme song, otherwise known as “The Ballad of Jed Clampett.” With not much more than a banjo he ends up taking you on a wild ride through illusory cavernous cornfields, rugged dirt roads, and then finally back to safety with the conclusion of the track.

The musician takes listeners for a different type of ride with “I’m Leaving Him,” leading listeners to first believe he’s singing about a man leaving another man for a woman. In reality it’s about the musician having to leave his son for grad school, the alleged mistress. This is one of the more solemn tracks in that he more or less spells out the situation without any puns, tales, or jests along the way.

“Blow ‘Em Away” brings a new meaning to the anger of traffic on the way home after work. This track was originally written by Asheville, NC musician Chuck Brodsky. After making a few lyrical changes and adding a new verse, doctornorm has made the track his own. With background harmonies, a specific style of guitar playing, and the flowing, drifting melody this track conveys, it has a clear inspiration from pop/rock music of the 60’s.

Although The Message is the Music is a blues-driven album, there are a number of other underlying characteristics like its humor and use of the banjo. Doctornorm’s songs are reflective of his own life without ever being too deep; he’s always got a sharp-witted way of tackling any subject he writes about. Every track tells an in-depth story and serves as proof that you don’t always have to approach things in a somber manner to get a serious point across.


Review by Alec Cunningham

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)