Unlike most of their contemporaries, the Gary Douglas Band refuse to follow the Nashville model as it currently exists in 2019, and anyone who needs evidence to support this should make a point of seeing the new lyric video for their latest single “Million Miles Away.” Douglas goes out of his way to strike some vitality into a jaded country scene in this song, and he uses every weapon at his disposal to not only capture but, moreover, maintain our attention from beginning to end. Acerbic, lyrically-focused and masterfully arranged, this is one country single that even non-Nashville followers are going to want to hear this spring.
The master mix for the video feels a little more upfront and physical than what we hear in the single and album versions of this song, but it doesn’t drown out the vintage tonality of the instruments. The Gary Douglas Band shape a really sophisticated bassline in “Million Miles Away,” and though it’s a little feistier in the video, it falls short of saturating everything in its heavy fog. I’m not even kidding when I say that I believe the moving visuals bring out more of an evocativeness in the music, and once you see this video, my gut tells me that you’ll get precisely what I’m talking about.
In the chorus of the song, the band clings to a much sportier rhythm than what we begin with, while the melody becomes even achier and filled with more pain. I get a tortured vibe from the harmonies in this single more than I even do the lyrics; it’s as if Douglas is trying to tell us something so much deeper than what the romantic hunger in his poetry is translating at face value. I don’t usually go for country music of a decidedly puritan strain, but I would have to be some sort of artificial lifeform to resist the passion in this prose.
Both lyrically and musically, “Million Miles Away” is a torridly emotional release that doesn’t hold anything back from us in imparting a realism that is extremely rare in country music nowadays. In this respect, you could definitely make the argument that Douglas is playing more to his folk influences in this track than in past singles, but to some degree, I think that would be discounting the vivacious twang that pushes this song along. The bottom line is that whether you’re all about singer/songwriters or you’re more geared towards the customary country band, this single is highly unlikely to let you down.
I’ve been keeping a close eye on Gary Douglas since 2015, and I’ve come to realize that though a lot of artists hit a wall in their sophomore outing, this guy is only going to get better with age. Every time I think I’ve heard the best from the Gary Douglas Band, they come back with an even greater batch of material than before, and that’s not usually the case with most of the artists that I review in this business (or genre, for that matter). “Million Miles Away” has the potential to bring him an increased level of international attention, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that he deserves every bit of it.
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