Son Volt – Day of the Doug
The late Doug Sahm is a criminally underrated figure in the country and folk music scenes. A pioneer of the Tex-Mex sound for five decades, as a member of the Texas Tornados, the Sir Douglas Quintet and as a solo artist he is seen as a musician’s musician, but if there were any justice in the world his songs would regularly be played on the radio and he would be namechecked almost as often as people cite Willie, Waylon and Johnny. Son Volt is thankfully doing their part to keep his songs around for the next generation.
The band’s latest record, Day of the Doug, revisits Sahm’s legacy, covering a dozen tracks highlighting just how remarkable a songwriter he was. Sifting through a 50-year career, the band landed on some of his best – if not his best known – songs. “He’s kind of a musical shapeshifter,” said Son Volt founder Jay Farrar talking about the project. “From Tex-Mex to country to blues to San Antonio rhythm and blues to ‘60s pop to Cajun fiddle music. He’s always mostly following the inspiration – and then, occasionally, follows the money enough to find inspiration. He’s kind of a role model in that respect.”
The record starts with “Sometimes You’ve Got to Stop Chasing Rainbows,” an addictively catchy song with enough twang to be country and plenty of hooks to almost count as pop. Surprisingly, Son Volt chose to skip over some of Sahm’s best known hits like “She’s About a Mover” and “Mendocino” for deeper cuts and much of his earlier works. The result is a remarkably fun album reminding you just how compelling a songwriter Sahm was. Songs like the driving “Float Away” and “Dynamite Woman” are destined to become staples of Son Volt’s own live sets for years to come. They also do justice to “Poison Love” and “It’s Gona Be Easy,” two songs Sahm never wrote but recorded in the early 1970s.
Day of Doug is bookended by two recordings of Sahm, a longtime musical influence and occasional collaborator of Farrar’s. Here’s hoping this record kicks of a much-needed Doug Sahm renaissance.
Enjoy our previous coverage here: REVIEW: Son Volt Electro Melodier