THE STORY OF ALLISON2020 IS A STORY SHAPED IN SOUND. Much of Allison's enthusiasm for music is a result of her Father's own interest and musicality. A talented singer-songwriter and guitarist himself, Doug Midgley passed away when Allison was just 10 years old. His physical absence in her life made a treasure out of the material he left behind and Allison has been on a treasure hunt ever since. She collects, organizes, studies, interprets, re-masters, re-imagines, and re-produces her Father's musical works. She considers her efforts collaborative and seeks to honor the path his music might have taken had he been granted a little more time. Allison's life passion is promoting her Father's legacy. Her goal is to share and grow his music, and achieve Doug Midgley's posthumous induction into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.
"I lost my Father, Doug Midgley, to cancer when I was ten years old. He was only 39… and an incredibly talented musician. He could play the harmonica and guitar, write his own music and lyrics, and sing. Really, really sing. Wow, did I ever love the feeling of his billowing voice and hummingbird guitar as they filled our hallways and made our sweet, little house feel like home. To this day, home is where his music plays.
When he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, he was given a 6 month window to live. Amazingly, he stuck around for two harrowing years. Just long enough to prompt a legacy and inspire my life’s mission.
During his illness, Dad was offered an opportunity to participate in an experimental treatment that held promise. It was a positive alternative to the chemotherapy and surgeries that he had already undergone, but it listed vocal chord paralysis as one of a long list of potential side effects. He accepted the offer optimistically, but as Murphy’s Law would have it, the side effect he most wanted to avoid eventually stole his voice. He spent the final months of his life only able to speak in a breathy whisper.
Although it is fun to imagine the incredible heights he might have reached with more time, I tend to think cancer was the catalyst for his decision to assemble a collection of all his music. He called it his Anthology- a written compilation of his entire life’s work.
I’ll never forget the day he shared it with me, the 9 year old daughter he rightly feared he would miss seeing grow up. We both sobbed the most honest and heartfelt cry I’ve ever known and then laughed about the crazy, limitless depth of our love until it hurt.
Dad had a tangible enthusiasm for life and nature. Growing up, I can’t remember him ever killing a spider. Instead, he would respectfully offer the innocent intruder a new home outside. He would lecture complete strangers about the harmful effects of the pesticides they used in their OWN yards and I’m sure he scared more than one teenager into quitting their smoking habit.
He used to enjoy going to the Strawberry Music Festival in Yosemite National Park each year. I went with him several times and discovered the joy of music in nature. When we went to the festival together in 1994, he was already unable to sing. In order to fulfill his annual tradition of performing on the Hog Ranch Radio there, he invited me to join him on stage.
I sang his song, “Beer,” (with the lyrics revised to make it a more age appropriate song about root beer) while he strummed his hummingbird guitar at my side. He beamed as he introduced me in a hoarse whisper and handed over the microphone. It took me a long time to realize that was the moment he passed me the torch, giving me permission to carry out his legacy."
Doug Midgley died on December 4th, 1995.
"Over the years, his Anthology has grown to be a source of comfort and strength for me. I study its every word and live by its code. By making a record of his lyrical artwork, my Father was able to raise me from the other side. I learned about life and love through his words, and I found myself in his music."