Hot out of the studio, trial lawyer (and I do in fact mean attorney at law) and music savant Gary Douglas returns with a new single from his upcoming album Deep in the Water, “River Road.” I wasn’t much familiar with Gary when I first heard “River Road,” but it didn’t take long for me to be on the bandwagon of this enigmatic singer/songwriter who follows the tradition of Merle Haggard as much as he does Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Having spent a career in the courtroom, you would think that the last thing Gary would want to put up with is the politics of the music business – and you would be right. Gary Douglas and his band of instrumentalists go against the grain in every sense of the term. In “River Road,” Gary takes us down an authentic, well-scouted highway of isolation and reflection that demands a lot of engagement with the listener.
One of my wife’s favorite memories of childhood is listening to George Strait with her dad, rambling down dirt roads in his old Chevy truck. Somehow these little intermissions with the stereo could erase any stress or care in the world for her, replacing them with a sense of comfortability and security that, to this very day, is unmatched by anything in her life. Don’t we all wish we could find a way back to our special place; a way back to the immaculately insulated frame of mind that comes standard in childhood?
That feeling is so revered, so treasured by all of mankind, that we devote millions of hours and billions of dollars towards trying to replicate it in the public view, usually in the form of music, movies and paintings. We can never truly recapture the exact emotions of these chapters in our life, but our attempts to re-express them are perhaps just as special as their forerunners, although significantly undervalued by us in the long term. “River Road” touches on all of this subject matter, but also draws an interesting juxtaposition between the world we come from and the world we want to live in, as well.
Rare is it that music critics from Nashville, New York and Los Angeles can all agree, but there really is something for everyone’s taste here. Much like his album Keepin’ Faith hinted at, Gary Douglas is constantly adopting new influences and incorporating them into his evolving artistry. One thing that doesn’t appear to ever change though, is Gary’s overwhelming commitment to writing prolific lyrics that strike deep into the psyche and leave us brooding and sometimes even bold. I’m very eager to hear what comes next for the Gary Douglas Band, and highly recommend that independent music fans with an ear for honest, countrified harmonies keep an eye on them as well.
Check out Gary’s work on Facebook (facebook.com/garydouglasband), Twitter (@garydouglasband) and his official website, garydouglasband.com. “River Road” is out now, and you can find more of the Gary Douglas Band’s music on Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music, REVERBNATION and everywhere that digital downloads are available.
-review by Jennifer Hertzler