The Gary Douglas Band – Nothing Ever Goes as Planned
“Nothing Ever Goes as Planned” is the second single from the Gary Douglas Band’s Deep in the Water, the New York City based band’s follow up to Keepin’ Faith. There’s no boisterous rock posturing in this song; instead, “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned” builds around a stylishly orchestrated acoustic arrangement and highlights Douglas’ vocals and writing. It benefits from five star production, as well, and will seamlessly transfer over to live performance. There’s no doubt that the band is a potent studio unit and this performance sounds like it could have been recorded with the entire band playing together, but the Gary Douglas Band is clearly an unit born to play live and their growing list of concert dates is evidence of that.
It kicks off in an intimate way, the music carefully modulated to create a mood, and quickly brings listeners into its sonic world. That suspension of the surrounding world is one of the greatest magical moments music can provide and The Gary Douglas Band are masters of that during this song. It comes through with how they weave the instrumental threads together without one ever asserting dominance in the mix and, instead, composing something where the sum is greater than its individual parts. The way Douglas develops and intensifies the song’s musical landscape gives the track even more impact; the shift from suggestive brush-like drumming at the outset into a crisper snap during the bulk of the song is especially effective.
Douglas’ voice commands much of our attention vocally and this isn’t a bad thing. Douglas has an effortless way of bringing listeners into the lyric while maintaining a musicality sweetening the dire message behind his verses. There’s two opposing point of views running through this song – the surface and its subtext. Taken at face value and nothing more, “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned” takes a dark view of our future and paints our current state as near collapse. There’s a near apocalyptic tone stamped on many of the verses. His voice, along with some well deployed backing vocals, fills the song with a resolute spirit that doesn’t seem close to giving up and this contrast between these two moods makes for an even stronger listen.
“Nothing Ever Goes as Planned” is the sound of musicians working at or near their respective peaks. Deep in the Water’s first single “River Road” promised much from the band’s upcoming album and the second single delivers on that promise in a big way thanks to its variety, depth, and entertainment value. Gary Douglas and his cohorts are writing, recording, and performing music that means something to them – it’s as far from pure product as you’ll get. We’re extraordinarily fortune that they have the talent to make it mean something to else as well and that impassioned sincerity helps make “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned” one of 2018’s best single releases. If the remainder of Deep in the Water proves to be as good as this, it’ll easily outstrip its fine predecessor Keepin’ Faith.