With cordial, sincere lyricism and giant guitars along for the ride, Gary Douglas delivers everything that country-rock devotee’s relish in his new preview single “River Road,” soon available everywhere as part of his next record, Deep in the Water. Douglas manages to transcend the prerequisite limitations of studio-produced heartland rock and develop a concrete effort that inspires a sense of release not easily achieved in the genre, and there’s something particularly special about this latest single. All of the players on this track hold up their weight magnificently, and I don’t think Douglas himself has ever sounded so energized.
Driven by Lynyrd Skynyrd-inspired organs and riffs that shine brighter than a hot sun over the southern sky, “River Road,” contains a number of almost operatic lyrics that beckon us towards the garage, into the car and out onto the open road to find that place where we shared a last dance; a last chance, if you will, to relive the history that has made us who we are and defined what we believe in. The midnight moon seems to blanket us while we deliberate these ideas (or at least that’s what Dan Asher’s bass lines told me) in a way that educes a yearning for the past, and the ecstasy we associate with our most cherished moments.
“River Road” seems to cry out to the audience a simple message; we all have an endless desire to feel something real. In 2018, a lot of us are living mostly artificial existences when compared to generations that came before us. The emergence of technology that allows us to be lazy has made it so much easier to develop a certain amount of apathy for the human race and its many intricacies. It is the nature of people, however, to rebel against enclosure when they start to feel the pressure rising. The ingenuity and unstoppable drive of the human spirit is far more powerful than any computer or evolutionary ignorance. Ultimately, it is singer/songwriters like Gary Douglas who set the standard for what the potential of our spirits can be, because like all creative icons, Douglas doesn’t restrict himself to the social or artistic enclosures set forth by our modern pop culture. He evolves, and his music evolves with him.
True, a lot of Douglas’ introspection results in a gritty product that is raw, and inaccessible to superficial music fans. But that isn’t the audience that he’s catering to. “River Road” and its predecessors in the Gary Douglas Band’s catalogue seek a much more particular listener; the kind that can relate to the electric energy that only art can conjure. I for one can’t wait to hear the rest of Deep in the Water when it drops in the near future.
For more information on the Gary Douglas Band, their music and their upcoming live performances, visit garydouglasband.com.