Deep In The Water With Gary Douglas
Bruce Von Stiers
If you think about Brooklyn, you usually don't necessarily equate it with Americana music. But there is a lot of it there, along with blues, country and, of course, rock. One product of this diverse musical culture is Gary Douglas. He has a band simply called The Gary Douglas Band.
This year finds Gary with a brand new album out. Deep In The Water is the title of the new album. The album is a great mixture of rock and Americana. I wasn't aware of Gary Douglas before this album, but I can definitely understand why he has garnered a huge following.
Deep In The Water is being self-released. The album was produced by Niko Bolas and co-produced by Darrell Brown. Nilo has worked on albums for Beth Hart and The Mavericks among others. The album was recorded in Nashville, New York and Ojai and Sherman Oaks, California. Gary wrote two of the songs and co-wrote the rest of the album.
Gary does the lead vocals on the album. He has an incredible lineup that plays on the album. Gary is joined by Paul Deakin and Raul Malo of The Mavericks. Paul is on drums and Raul plays acoustic and electric guitars. Jeff Kazee from Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes is on piano and B3 organ. Jay Weaver is on upright bass. He's recorded with The Mavericks, Big Daddy Weave and Dolly Parton among others. Josh Leo has wrote for, and produced, a who's who of country artists. He lends his talents to this album on electric and acoustic guitars. Jennifer Gunderman, who has recorded with Kris Kristofferson and toured with Sheryl Crow along with being a professor at Vanderbilt University, plays accordion on the album. Nick Biello plays saxophone on the album. His song arrangements have been performed by great such as Stevie Wonder and he has performed and recorded with numerous jazz artists.
Mark Makai plays the B3 organ. There are other artists that helped out on the album who I will mention later. Doing many of the background vocals is Perla Batalla. A protégé of Leonard Cohen, Perla has had a great career, spanning several albums and having her music heard in both television and films.
A fast paced rock / Americana sound can be found in River Road. The vocals are solid and there is some really good guitar. Being a bit downtrodden but trying to find some optimism in life is the theme of the song.
Million Miles is a terrific ballad of feeling lost. He seeing “a light but it feels a million miles away.” There is a great choral harmony in the song.
The title track Deep In The Water has a theme that has it's basis in Gary's life outside of music. He had a career fighting companies as a product liability and environmental attorney. The song deals with the killing of the planet by toxic elements from factories and the corporate executives and attorneys who are profit driven. It is a great ballad type of song that some fantastic guest performers. Jimmy Dale McFadden of The Mavericks fame played the piano and Wurlitzer on the song. Miguel Alejandro Comas Damas of the Cuban band Sweet Lizzy Project plays acoustic and electric guitar on the song. And Lisset Diaz Guevara, the Lizzy of the Sweet Lizzy Project, provides backing vocals on the song.
Smile effecting lyrics and slick, head bopping music can be found in Oh My, Oh My. He's loving the music life and everything that comes with it. A veteran musician, having played on over 4000 recordings, Steve Patrick lends his talents on trumpet to the song. Maxwell Adams plays sax on the song as well.
Devil In Her Soul has a rock and blues tone to it. A couple parts of the song reminded me a bit of Jace Everett's Bad Things. Maxwell Adams plays sax in the song. Roy Agee, who has recorded with both Blake Shelton and Garth Brooks plays trombone on the song. And Southside Johnny himself helps out on harmonica on the song.
Mellow music backs terrific vocals in Nothing Ever Goes As Planned. It is a cautionary tale of our times. Kenny Malone plays the snare drum and other instruments on the song. Besides helping out with groups like New Grass Revival, Kenny played on Dobie Gray's hit song Drift Away. Greg Barnhill, who has recorded with Chicago and Jessica Simpson, provides backing vocals. Also providing backing vocal is Joanna Janet, who recorded the critically acclaimed single, Since I've Seen You Last.
Some tough piano and guitar back up Gary in the cool rock, blues tune Wild Child. Southside Johnny adds his stellar harmonica to the song.
Won't Say No is a song with an Americana, somewhat country music flavor to it. There is great fiddle music in the background from David Davidson, one of the most sought after violin / fiddle studio musicians in Nashville. I mentioned Darrell Brown earlier as a co-producer on the album. He did some of the backing vocals on the album. And on this song, Darrell played the B3 and Wurlitzer. Some his previous experience is having recorded with both LeAnn Rimes and Sarah Evans.
Do You Wanna Go is a head bopping, toe tapping song. It has terrific trumpet from Steve Patrick and trombone from Roy Agee. There is also some great sax in the song.
Losing You has a mix of R & B and rock. It kind of made me think of ‘70's styled R & B rock. Bernie Larsen lends an extra hand on electric guitar on the song. He also does some of the backing vocals on the album. Bernie has recorded and toured with the likes of Melissa Etheridge, Jackson Browne and Rickie Lee Jones.
Say What You Want To Say closes out the album. It is a somewhat country flavored ballad about recovering from love gone badly.
Every once in a while I'll write that an artist or band is well on their way to become a top act or household name. On a rare occasion, the prediction has come true. I think that Gary Douglas just might be one of those artists who will make a big name for himself. His vocals are great and the songs on this album have both terrific lyrics and music. And it does help that Gary surrounded himself with fantastic musicians and backing vocalists for the album.
Deep In The Water was just released a couple of days ago. You should be able to find it at your favorite music outlet.
The official web site for The Gary Douglas Band is http://www.garydouglasband.com/ . There is also a band page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/garydouglasband/
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© 2018 Bruce E Von Stiers