Jake Robinson reviews Independent ‘Americana’ artist Doug Prescott

Posted on March 2, 2012

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What do you expect form an artist labelling themselves as ‘truly American’? When the new disk from independent Americana artist Doug Prescott whisked its way across my cyber desk, I began to wonder.

‘Americana’ as a genre is an American radio construction, designed to fit the those who fall between the labelled gaps of country and rock. Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Wilco and Bright Eyes are often considered luminaries of this field and has led to the appropriation to be synonymous with ‘alternative-country’ music. At its best Americana promises to fulfil the legacy of American roots music; folk, country, Rn’B and rock culminating in a potent mix while also also availing us of what it is to be ‘truly American’ today. Doug Prescott hails from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the same town from whose loins Ben Folds and James Taylor have previously sprung.

Doug Prescott.

Singer Doug Guild (aka Prescott) has a nice soulful voice that that glides along accompanied by delightful slide and George Harrisson-esque guitar solos. The songs are beautifully arranged with wonderful rhythmic accompaniment and handsome key and horn additions.

‘Hideaway’ best exemplifies the soulful vocal style of Prescott in a pulsing, driving song. The first single ‘It’s About Oil’, is a biting attack on Bush-era politics, that has a strange resonance in the current political climate (where many Americans are disappointed in Obama and the Republican Presidential candidates are jostling to be seen as the most hawklike towards Iran). The highlight for me though is ‘Beach Wedding’, a beautifully embellished song floating along beneath the descriptions of fake plastic trees and tacky tiki torches.

The Journey and The Deep Blue Sea bears all the hallmarks of the Americana genre and floats along nicely. Doug Prescott is an honest and earnest voice of America yet does not seem quite sure what he should be articulating. The music, while beautifully arranged, rarely rises beyond that. The lyrics are prone to fall into clichés that only thinly crack the veneer of American life.

See also:

Bob Dylan – Together Through Life

Bright Eyes – Casadega

Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Jake Robinson is You’re Dripping Egg’s music staff writer (I know, right?). His column, the  imaginatively-titled ‘Music with Jake Robinson’, is now taking submissions from emerging artists who would like their work reviewed. To find out why Jake is so sought-after, check out his Review of Fleetwood Mac’s Importance to Popular Music.

To find out more about Doug Prescott, check out his website.

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Posted in: Music