News of a new McDougall record is big news around these parts. We’ve written about him multiple times (here and here) and he’s been played on both radio shows. A one-man band that alternates between guitar and six-string banjo with heavy doses of bass drum and hi-hat mixed in, McDougall’s true talent doesn’t come from the instruments he plays but from the sensation his music releases. He tells stories, stories of travel and exploration but even though the adventures seem just out of reach, we are still compelled to seek them out.
“Another Kind,” the first song on this self-titled album has the line “I’m on the corner, ready to go” and that sense fills the entire album. It’s a great first song because it pulls the listener into the world of the record and propels them into the following 11 songs. By the time the cymbals kick in halfway through “Flying in Circles,” I’m on the locomotive or whatever McDougall is driving and eager for the adventure.
There are a multitude of one-man bands in our scene and very few of them deliver the quality of music found on this album. The uniqueness of playing all the instruments doesn’t overshadow the quality of the songwriting. The third song, “On The Mend,” is a contemplative number about trying to live life another way. All the instrumental flair that McDougall is known for is stripped down and we’re left with a beautiful song.
I’ve been enjoying rock instrumentals a good bit lately so I was pleased to find a couple of them here. One of the things McDougall is able to capture in his instrumentals is an emotional arch and narrative that he also has in his vocals. The four instrumentals are well-placed and perpetuate the forward momentum of the album that “Another Kind” starts. The next to last song “Something To Take With You” builds all of the momentum of the album and takes it to an ecstatic climax while the quiet and listlessness of the final “Conversation With The Setting Sun” closes the album perfectly.
McDougall’s self-titled album is complete, adventuresome and ESSENTAIL LISTENING. I spoke briefly to McDougall about his new album I asked if he was going to make vinyl. He said he’d been thinking about it but didn’t know if it was financially plausible. I told him I would by a vinyl copy and if you feel the same way let him know in the comments and we’ll see if we can get that ball rolling.