East Nashville by way of a creek side suburb right outside of Baltimore, songwriter Benjamin Jason Douglas weaves classic American folk tales not unlike those of John Prine and Guy Clark. But he’s also lit up by the torch song sarcasm of Randy Newman. Those influences come to you mixed-up with the voodoo blues of Dr. John on a whiskey-soaked bender with Tom Waits.
His narratives pin laughter beside loneliness like two old friends who don’t really get along but make it work for the sake of the song. With every sneaky 7th and diminished chord struck by this graveled soul, he aims to make light work of heavy hearts, as if only to convince himself he can. What you end up with is a sound that truly defies categorization, a magical potion of tent revival gospel and outsider anthems that are all his very own. Get down with this 3 star S.O.B., you’ll be glad that you did!
First World Blues, Douglas’s debut record will drops on August 10th via Flour Sack Cape Records. The record was slow cooked for three years from 2014-2017 at Greenland studios in Nashville TN. Most of the songs were written in Nashville and crafted in the studio with Producer Joe Lekkas. Contrary to it being made in Nashville there were no hired guns used in its making. It was made with the help of friends who believed in the songs. The sound hinges on that collective vision, as 99% of the songs at conception were the brainchildren of one swollen head. With everything from upbeat revival worthy gospel (Tentpole), to darker sounding tales of desperation (Walking Down the Grain) and lot in between, the sonic landscape of the album is vast. Lyrically it contains a bit of personal journey clothed in the stories of others. They don’t always fit but that’s not always the point.
While waiting for the album, you can check out an acoustic version of one of the tracks below:
Aug 14th WXNA songs on the wire w/Anne McCue
Aug 19th @ the 5 Spot – Nashville, TN