Gary Douglas Band’s new lyric video “Million Miles Away”
Through the grainy feedback that greets us at the beginning of the Gary Douglas Band’s new lyric video “Million Miles Away,” the unlikely start of a celebration of country’s grandeur starts to form before our very ears. Polaroids cascade from above, with one of Douglas performing live catching our attention in particular. Without warning, we’re suddenly barreling down a dark road towards a city, finding our way into a deserted diner and thumbing through a jukebox playlist. Douglas sings “Don’t ya ever wanna stay in bed / Pick your arms up, put the pillow down over your head / That felt like me today,” with an air of regret hanging over his vocal. The visuals are devoid of color, but the melody adorning them is about to change that.
Douglas continues on in this introductory stanza, describing a sort of depression that is the hardest kind to shake. He talks about a distant light over the horizon of this tough morning, something that he looks at in hopes of basking in its redemptive rays, but the tone of his voice suggests that he hasn’t a clue as to how he’s going to get there. The contemplative nature of the harmony that is taking shaping between him and the backing piano is getting hard to cage-in at this point in the track, but then again, so is Douglas’ desire to break this funk and find his stride once more. Blankets of snow give way to an endless highway, and as night turns to day, that missing color starts to fill the screen with a liveliness that we’d once feared gone forever.
“How do you heal an angry heart / Before it goes and tears another soul apart?” Douglas sings, a spring in his step starting to infect the rhythm of the song with buoyancy. The bassline flirts with effervescence, and while the drums are dragging their heels, the strings are stoking a quick-burning flame within the beats and forcing everything within earshot to adopt a sense of urgency that will inevitably lead us to a blustery saxophone solo and the cathartic release of all this churning tension. The imagery is flashing before us faster than we can keep up with it, but it doesn’t matter at this point – anyone who appreciates solid alternative country is already lost in the sonic ethers that the Gary Douglas Band has so seamlessly transported us to in the last four minutes.
Lyric videos rarely present the sort of dynamic that “Million Miles Away” does, but to be fair, there’s nothing stock about the style of music that Gary Douglas and his band produce every time they hit the studio with a new idea queued up and ready to be experimented with. Having been blown away by the whole of Deep in the Water, I was very excited to see this track have a proper release as a single, and its video is a game-changer to put it mildly. Gary Douglas is a one of a kind artist in a very unique moment in country’s storied history, and this is one of his most cutting melodies so far.