You could never say that Doug Prescott was being anything but sincere, and you could never say his music is not truly the heart of country, Americana, and rock. Even Neil young and Crazy horse couldn’t make this claim (Neil Young did release a sort of grunge album in the 90’s, and don’t you forget it). So Doug Prescott is the real deal. Since the late 60’s, he has been circulating music, releasing solo LP’s, features across many bands, and travels across many states and in many studios with many various producers. In the Nashville scene, he is a staple. In the Americana scene, he is an indie legend.
Doug Prescott could not have done it alone, either. Not that he doesn’t have talent as a multi-instrumental powerhouse, but the man surely knows how to surround himself with some talent. On his third solo LP, Blues in the Key of Sea, Doug Prescott channels his inner artistic Stevie Wonder with his own artistically powered helping of blues-rock. Johnny Gallagher, Tony Bowman (from Edgar Winter Band), Mike Wesolowski (from Blues World Order) and Danny Gotham help to round out the guest starts which accentuate and add unrivaled flavor and pizzazz to the Doug Prescott formula.
The album hops along at a rather concise pace. Though some songs rely heavily on mandolin-focused rock numbers, some real guitar jams propel the energy forward. With a heaping of raw acoustic Americana and relaxed blues, the album’s one-speed sets a consistency that is forgotten by the over ambitious of the genre.
Everyone involves has a solid grasp of what ‘Blues in the Key of Sea’ is. Unlike Wonder’s double disc epic, the album remains fixated on the rambunctious fun of it all. The showmanship is top-tier, and the songwriting whip-tight. ‘Hell’ is a sheer folk-dance number under three minutes. ‘Smooth Sailin Day’ is a quirky little dance ditty that finds Prescott hopping along at a comfortable rhythmic pace sailing along the seas. ‘Purple Heart in a Crown Vic’ recalls a bit of that Tom Waits raspiness, for an obvious album highlight. ‘99% Won’t Do’ is a remarkably obvious nod to the political powers that be. It’s a silly little song with a tough romping bass to set the tone.
The whole album never pretends to be more than what it is. It is a sincere and honest attempt at the upper echelon of modern indie Americana. If you look at the line-up, you either have the classics which satiate our every joy, or you have the indie masters of the craft. The Doug Prescott band involves a rotating door of accomplished musicians that know a hook when they hear it, and have blues coursing through their every vein. No one would accuse any of the members of being phony. Doug Prescott is an obvious professional. If the songs don’t fit, it is YOU that is the problem.
Ryan Merkel is a cool writer guy and contributor all over the internet, from blogs on music to magazines about music to sites about playing music. He is currently founder of SunState Investing and is head editor of the music entertainment magazine, CultureTease. He has written two novels, and is currently working on a third full-length novel, surprisingly, not about music. His novel “Splatter the Noise” earned accolades for independent publishing. Be sure to check out: www.sunstateinvesting.com
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