5 years in the past, Queens native Doug Seegers was a homeless nation musician busking on the streets of Nashville.
That’s when a Swedish documentary crew filmed him singing his rueful music “Going Down to the River” and booked him a recording session at Johnny Money’s previous studio. Now Seegers, 66, is one of Scandinavia’s largest stars: a chart-topper taking part in to sold-out crowds, with a brand new memoir, “Going Down to the River.”
“It’s been a cosmic expertise,” Seegers, who splits his time between Nashville and Stockholm, instructed The Submit. Then once more, he added, “my life has been full of wildly totally different adjustments and eventualities.”
Seegers was born in 1952 in Rockaway Seaside. His mom, Marilyn, sang gospel and bluegrass and supported Seegers and his brother by means of odd jobs. His father, John, was a drifter and ditched the household when Seegers was about 8.
“However he left all his Hank Williams information,” stated Seegers, who taught himself guitar by taking part in alongside along with his dad’s previous discs.
He spent the 1970s and ’80s attempting to make it as a musician in Manhattan and Austin, Texas, taking part in in bands and singing his personal tunes on the streets.
He then moved to upstate Ithaca to increase a household and pursue woodworking, however was stressed. Seegers had dabbled in booze and medicines since highschool, and it was a full-blown behavior round this time. After spending six months in jail for his fourth DUI, Seegers — then nearing 50 — instructed his two teenage kids that he was going to Nashville to pursue music, a choice that pains him immediately.
Whereas Nashville was extra hospitable to the variety of nation rock Seegers wrote, it was additionally fiercely aggressive. He slunk additional into alcohol and medicines — and finally misplaced his residence.
“Crack was what stripped me from my music,” he stated. “I used to be promoting my devices to purchase extra medication.”
In 2013, after greater than a decade in Nashville, Seegers — in a very low second — started to pray. “I might really feel [God] letting me know, ‘I’m going to take care of you,’ ” he recalled. He threw out his vodka and resolved to get clear.
That’s when he met Swedish singer Jill Johnson, who was filming a documentary about avenue musicians. However Seegers, then dwelling beneath a bridge, didn’t anticipate something to come of the recording session she supplied.
“I couldn’t imagine it once I heard that my music was No. 1 on Swedish iTunes,” he stated.
Quickly he had a report deal, a European tour and accolades from private heroes similar to Emmylou Harris. He even reconciled along with his youngsters.
Now engaged on a brand new album, Seeger nonetheless performs on the avenue. He simply purchased a home close to Nashville, however stated he’ll “at all times really feel like a homeless individual.”
“I get pleasure from the freedom [of being a bit of a drifter],” he stated, including that he nonetheless fishes in the trash for furnishings and different items.
“I assume I’m not like most individuals.”