When you learn that Doug Prescott is the stage name of Doug Guild, the president and CEO of the ecological consulting group Prescott Environmental Associates, it is not surprising that the most touted song on his newly released CD, The Journey and The Deep Blue Sea, is a political critique of the country’s “petro-jones,” “It’s About Oil.” What may be surprising is that given Prescott’s professional expertise it is really the only song of the 10 on the album that is directly if at all concerned with the environment. This is not a collection of save-the-whale protest songs. Indeed, what characterizes this album best is its variety—variety in subject and variety in musical style.
Although Prescott’s bio characterizes him as an Americana artist, it would be hard to tell from this album. Certainly there is some country rock, but there is also some funk, some jazz, a little folk, and even a swinger that wouldn’t be out of place in the act of a lounge singer. More than likely it will only be Americana fundamentalists who will object to the album’s eclecticism, especially since the singer is truly at home with these different styles. Variety isn’t a bad thing if the musician can handle it; Prescott can handle it.
Listen to his mellow vocal with Ronda Bowman backing on the “Right Time, Right Place,” and you can easily imagine him in Vegas. “Happy Enough Song,” which opens the album, is a fairly straight-up rocker with some nice guitar solo work and a brassy ending. “Patience” channels Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” “Silence Speaks Volumes” plays off a funky beat while “Oh Maggie” rocks with a jazz vibe. “Let’s Get Wide Open” has a soft pop sound. “Beach Wedding” has a big bluesy-guitar opening which promises more than its satiric lyric delivers. This is a shame, too, because the music is some of the best on the album. Still, whatever the style, Prescott delivers.
Again, “It’s About Oil” is the featured song on the album. In effect it is a sermon on corporate greed and “messing around with the world and losing their trust.” Targets include US involvement in Iraq and Iran, Haliburton, and pipelines. Prescott is not shy about making his point: “It’s about getting whatever we want by any means.” Set in against a rocking guitar, the song packs a wallop.
The 10 songs on the album feature a variety of musical artists with some excellent credentials, including vocalist Craig Fuller (Pure Prairie League, Little Feat), Tony Bowman (Edgar Winter) on keyboards, Allyn Love (Steve Wariner and Patty Loveless) on pedal steel guitar, Martin Parker (Vince Gill) on drums, and Will McFarlane (Bonnie Raitt) on guitar. There are a cartload of other musicians playing on individual tracks—unfortunately too many to mention.