Review: Doug Prescott – The Journey & the Deep Blue Sea
I thought of a particular friend when I put Doug Prescott’s album on, but it took until the second song to figure out why. There’s something reminiscent of ’70s southern rock in the first track, “Happy Enough Song”, but I couldn’t figure out what that was. A busy song with a thumping opening riff played by all the instruments and organ flourishes, sax interjections, and guitar solos to back up Prescott’s phrases, it felt a bit like going back in time.
But when the dense vocal harmonies and plodding harmonies of “Hideaway” started, I realized that he reminded me of The Outlaws, more specifically “Green Grass and High Tides”, which my friend sent to me when I was young and impressionable, and which I eventually used to open my radio show. And then I looked at his website and saw that he’s influenced by Little Feat, and that he’s got Craig Fuller from Pure Prairie League and Little Feat playing on the disc (these were the other two CDs my same friend sent me at that time. There you go). Always a fan of thick textures and the sort of raw anger that characterizes much of that era’s southern rock, I liked the connection to it that I found in Prescott’s work. He also adds a nice country flavour with back and forth solos between mandolin and pedal steel.
The Journey & The Deep Blue Sea is a little scattered genre-wise. The country tinge of “Hideaway” is followed by the funk bassline and horns of “Patience” and then he slips right into steel-drum-accompanied reggae (a logical trip from funk I suppose) in “Silence Speaks Volumes”. I prefer the tunes where Prescott sticks to the country/rock format, like in the sarcastic “Beach Wedding” or “Right Time, Right Place”, which has a nice Hawaiian vibe from the pedal steel. Songs like this, along with the Caribbean ones, make Prescott sound as though he would be right at home playing for dancers at a resort somewhere (and the Hawaiian shirts he’s wearing on his website suggest that may in fact be what he often does).
Apparently music is a hobby for Prescott; he spends his days toiling away as the president of an environmental firm and his nights singing songs about his clients. That’s what my brother does, although his music is, um, a little scarier than Prescott’s, but it seems like there’s much to be said about the oil biz whether you’re hardcore/punk or country/reggae/rock. In any case, this is a fun album with some energetic tunes and entertaining lyrics.