You just can’t go wrong with a musician sporting a serious beard. Just look at Otis Gibbs. Or the dudes in ZZ-Top. When the beard issue is brought up, our man Rune says, “I guess it’s part envy on my part, I’ve been wanting one all my life and it turns out I can not grow a beard if my life depended on it. I guess that’s why whenever a musician, and especially a singer/songwriter turns up with a beard, I’ll take him twice as serious as a beardless hack like me.” “The beard,” he continues, “to me at least, signifies that this person actually has lived life, and been too busy to shave – staying away from dead-end jobs where you are encouraged to stay clean shaved.”
Let’s talk about the music though, because that shit speaks for itself. You don’t need to see McDougall’s beard to hear that he’s lived his words when he pleads things like, “I used to be so sure of who my enemies were,” like he does in “The Travels of Frederick Tolls – Part 1”. There’s just so much truth in there. He’s got this raw, dirty voice, and his music has elements of Canned Heat, Tom Waits and delta-blues carefully mixed with bluegrass, country and rock. Writing these catchy tunes with enough edge to keep you on your toes – waiting for his next tale.
A Few Towns More kicks off with a real party. Handclaps, a swingin’ banjo, footstomps and people humming loudly along to the tune before making its intentions wholly clear with track 2, aptly titled “Ready, Begin”. From there the album unfolds with 10 tracks of banjo, growls, footstomps and declarations that, by the end of it’s 39th minute, might have you thinking Scott McDougall is the perfect mixture of Possessed By Paul James and Tim Barry. That’s how it worked for me.
Of one thing there is no doubt: A Few Towns More in undeniably Essential Listening.