Gary Douglas Band drops full LP
Every portion and pocket of America has a unique soundtrack that goes along with it. Whether it’s the hustle and bustle of the city or the dry wasteland of the dessert, you’re bound to find a musical element exclusive to every sort of region you’ll find in our broadly designed nation. The Gary Douglas Band recently cut an album titled Deep in the Water, and having grown up in a small town myself, I can endorse that this is what it sounds like to live and breathe rural America. It’s easy going, a little rowdy now and then, and like Gary Douglas himself, a living commentary on the simplicity of life when it is lived to the fullest.
“Devil in Her Soul” might be the most stylish country song released in the 2010s; it’s certainly the best track I’ve reviewed this summer. There’s no ill validation of otherwise loathsome behavior, or the exploitation of some tired old poor-me dichotomy. Gary Douglas doesn’t have time for that kind of country music; he’s making music with his band that will stand the test of time thanks to its versatility, not its serviceability. The endearing, almost heaven-sent tonality of “Devil in Her Soul” forces me to respect Douglas and everything he’s setting out to do.
Spurred on by the success of the hit single “River Road,” Deep in the Water lives up to everything that long term Gary Douglas Band supporters were hoping to get out of this album and even hints that he might be moving in a more rock-oriented direction in his next affair. I myself think that country needs the energy, and while the Gary Douglas Band has always been stylized as more of an alternative folk/roots group, to say that they haven’t developed a monopoly over a certain sector of the country music market would just be silly.
There’s a modern pulse to every song on Deep in the Water, which is yet another pivotal difference between this record and the Gary Douglas Band’s closest contemporaries and rivals. Douglas has been pretty open from the beginning about not wanting to recreate any of the music that inspired him but instead advance the direction of said music so that it could thrive and expand in the future (under his creative control of course). He’s proving to be an expert conductor, and I have to wonder whether or not he would be running the industry today if he hadn’t spent the bulk of his early life practicing law.
I really need to see the Gary Douglas Band live at some point, just so that I’ll know in the core of my soul that their music and their narrative is in fact real and that they aren’t some deceptive figment of my imagination born of my inner passion for truly organic Americana. If they made their way through the small town that I grew up in, I have a feeling there wouldn’t be a single person to miss the event. But something also tells me they could sell out the arena in the big city I live in today just as easily.