‘Deep In The Water’ is the brand new album by trial lawyer Hall of Fame inducted attorney, singer-songwriter Gary Douglas. Growing up in Brooklyn and later, on Long Island, music has been Douglas’ muse, an outlet for his feelings and a desire he can’t shake, hence The Gary Douglas Band has become his creative vehicle. The Heartland rocker meticulously crafts lyrics straight from his well-worn journal. The album’s sharp songwriting kicks off with the rollicking and hopeful “River Road”, and the tough but tender “Million Miles Away”. The latter is built on engaging wordplay that takes the listener through the ups and downs of working through the world. The zen-like wisdom transcends merely a song, and packs the message and philosophy that sometimes life is just simpler if you truly believe.
Sonically, the title track, “Deep In The Water” finds the quickest four-lane highway into the bloodstream. There are pulses through the rhythm section made especially for FM radio – a wall-of-sound drumming, deep and shapely bass lines, as well as Douglas’ emoting vocals.
The song reflects Douglas’ recent efforts on behalf of multiple plaintiffs battling DuPont for injuries sustained by the chemical giant’s illegal dumping of the dangerous chemical C8 into the Ohio River. Douglas won a series of record-shattering settlements in the multi-district litigation, earning more than $700 million in punitive damages. Distinctive and in the pocket this is an extremely captivating track, which could just be the best of the bunch.
“Oh My Oh My” is honed with a classic rock guitar snarl, and a speaker-rattling rhythm section with built in horns to match. In fact the horns ignite many a track, especially “Devil In Her Soul” which is laden with soulful harmonies, a swampy backbeat, and another hard look at society.
That The Gary Douglas Band take their song writing very seriously, without a hint of pretension, is evident on the slower, more profound Americana anthem, “Nothing Ever Goes As Planned”. Cultural, social and political undertones run subtly through the narrative here. There is a lot that working class America can relate to in these words.
In fact, each song, in some way paints a different picture of middle class American life, and some turn the mirror and lets us take a good hard look at ourselves. “Won’t Say No”, for example takes an eloquent and devastating look at the effects of the cheating game.
Gary Douglas’ lie-detecting soul and his fierce identification with the downtrodden – tracing a line from Guthrie to Springsteen – is regularly set to stun on this album. The scene is lit with energetic rock full of catchy brass on “Do You Wanna Go”. The heart of this songs is tied to Douglas’ soaring vocal, which gives the track a rootsy edge.
The music on this album shows a band unafraid to rock its ass off, or slide into a funky groove, as on “Losing You” one moment, and then turn topical and sensitive on “Say What You Want To Say”, on the strength of Gary Douglas’ empathy for real people, real problems and real stories.
So do yourself a favor, grab this album and wrap your head and heart around it. It works, believe me. It’s nice that there is still a voice of reason standing up for the simple foundations of a decent society.
ALBUM NOTES: Produced and mixed by Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Warren Zevon) and co-produced by chart-topping songwriter / producer Darrell Brown (Keith Urban, Radney Foster), DEEP IN THE WATER sees the Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter backed by an all-star lineup of friends and fans that includes Southside Johnny and his Asbury Jukes keyboardist Jeff Kazee, The Mavericks’ Raul Malo and Paul Deakin, The Jayhawks’ Jennifer Gunderman, guitarist Josh Leo, saxophonist Nicholas Biello, and a host of Nashville’s finest session players.