Based out of the New York City area, The Gary Douglas Band’s music reflects its leader and chief songwriter’s love for traditional rock and singer/songwriter material. He brings those loves together often on his preceding material but the latest single from Douglas and his band, “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned”, highlights another side of his songwriting resonating with as much depth and urgency as his most recent single “River Road” but arriving at its end result in a much different fashion. The new single is about nuance, feeling, and an intelligent use of the song’s strengths, but Gary Douglas and his band mates never misstep. It results in a song with rare commitment to not wasting listener’s time yet a sense of completeness longer, more involved, songs scarcely achieve.
Gary Douglas’ voice is remarkably flexible and gives each part of the song’s lyric just the right amount of emotion and lung power. The vocal melody doesn’t directly mimic the melodic strands of its arrangement and definitely encourages his superior phrasing while his transition from the smooth glide of its verses into the loose, surprisingly spiritual chorus culminates with some particularly muscular Douglas vocals. The backing singers linking up with Douglas during the chorus have a level of interplay that makes it the strongest moment of emotional connection for the listener. It’s that moment when the song really sank its hooks into me and carries the track from exceptional to sublime in one fell swoop.
“Nothing Ever Goes as Planned” doesn’t seem to concede much hope for us in these uncertain days when everything seems up for grabs, but there’s a certain authority in Douglas’ vocals that never drag us down. Even if everything has gone topsy and seems to be coming apart at the seams, Douglas sings these lyrics like some defiant, chin raised Jeremiah decrying our obscene follies but never raising a white flag. It’s bracing listening. A careful listen to his lyrics reveals a song that doesn’t sound like a hopeful vision, but the singing and arrangement for “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned” transforms this into a much more layered, deceptively sophisticated work.
Deep in the Water, The Gary Douglas Band’s new release, seems like the sort of album primed to propel this band over the top and to greater attention than ever before. They’ve already established a strong and ever growing reputation as a powerhouse live act and the latest single promises to make an easy transition over to the band’s set list. They show great intelligence, as well, releasing a second single that provides listeners with a different sound than we heard with the first. It will likely be the last single, as well, preceding the album’s release, so I say thanks, and let’s bring on what will probably rate as one of 2018’s most satisfying studio releases. The Gary Douglas Band are an unit cut from rarefied cloth and bear all the signs of an outfit destined to make great music for years to come.