Labels are pointless with The Gary Douglas Band. You can dub it roots rock, retro, all kinds of rock, but the foundational truth of Douglas’ music is that they are just good songs, engaged with life, and reflective of the passion that compels Douglas and his band mates to play like nothing else matters beyond nailing the song. His latest single, “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned”, isn’t any different. It may even be his best effort yet, fully realized both musically and emotionally, and he definitely invests a generous portion of his heart and lungs alike making the song work for a wide cross-section of listeners. You don’t need to be a dyed in the wool rock fan to embrace this song. Casual and hardcore fans alike will flock to the rough-hewn sincerity of Douglas’ voice, the musical arrangement, and the surprisingly joyous backing vocals accompanying him during the song’s chorus.
The instrumentation for “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned” keeps things plugging along in a bare bones and straight forward way. The song is primarily constructed around a staggered, intensely rhythmic acoustic guitar part and drums that employ different approaches towards setting the song’s heartbeat. The percussion imposes a sense of drama over the number that makes it all the more compelling of a tune and Douglas positions his voice sympathetically against the drums in a memorably punchy way. “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned” cops a mid-tempo pace and it’s a perfect speed for the song to develop, particularly when you take into account its sub-three minute running time. There’s never any feeling of things left unfinished, however; the new single has a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Douglas’ voice isn’t some classically trained wonder with gymnastic vocal reach, but that’s not what his music requires. The Gary Douglas Band records and performs songs that ask for the singer’s soul, heart, and tears and listeners can’t help but be gripped by the unbridled way Douglas’ singing gives itself over to the magic of song. The aforementioned backing singers are going more for feel than anything else and the light contrast they strike with Douglas’ lead vocals spark from the first and make for one of the song’s high points.
Douglas’ phrasing, likewise, brings the lyrics to life. Gary Douglas is a sharp writer with an eye for significant detail and the music achieves the rare goal of making adult rock and roll without ever making a big deal about it. It’s harder than you think. “Nothing Ever Goes as Planned” sounds like it turned out exactly like Douglas hoped for and, despite the somewhat dismal mood of the words, Douglas’ new single uplifts the spirit and prods you to sing along. It’s an excellent second aural glimpse of what we can expect from the band’s pending full length studio release Deep in the Water and sure to burnish The Gary Douglas Band’s already stellar reputation. Existing fans will love this latest release and newcomers will undoubtedly be impressed enough to come back for more.