Doc Dailey Can Flat Out Sing
Tuesday, Oct 12
By Julian Barnett
To Shoals area music fans that have been paying attention to our local music scene for the last few years, this is old news. Without question, though, this statement warrants repeating for those among you who have been drifting along, unaware…
Discerning ears won’t have to wade far into the definitively southern, hauntingly melodic, lyrically brooding waters of Victims, Enemies and Old Friends to appreciate the craftsmanship displayed at each and every turn of this fantastic local effort. Aurally embodying the Tennessee River itself with a depth, pacing and consistency that’s not often seen in these parts, Doc Daily and Magnolia Devil appear poised to dive headfirst into a sea of increased notoriety and greater critical acclaim.
Victims is a watercolor portrait painted with a steady hand, composed of overlapping hues of medium blues and shades of gray. Sonically, its range lies somewhere between Appalachian exuberance, traditional country excellence, and unapologetic southern rock. However, it will most certainly not be mistaken as commercial country, nor will it be for traditional Kentucky bluegrass. Great storytelling, good old-fashioned whimsy and an effective pop sensibility may often fight for prominence among Victims’ 14 tracks, but never at the expense of the album’s overall musical appeal and charm.
Right from the guitar strumming, mandolin picking beginning of the album’s opening track ‘Prove Me Wrong’, Victims sets its hooks into indie music lovers, folk music aficionados and country music fans alike. Even at a scant minute and fifty-four seconds, the first song of this record seems to perfectly convey an overriding theme for all else that follows; the content here is hopeful, yet introspective, with an undercurrent of melancholy thrown in for the sake of levity.
When the driving rhythm of ‘The Only Reason That I Know’ subsided, I must admit that I was initially taken aback by the slower-paced tandem of ‘Seven Points’ and ‘Pray for You’. Upon repeated play-through of the album, though, it seems clear that the band (and/or production team) knew exactly what they were doing – both songs fit perfectly into the overarching concept spanning this release, and things pick back up nicely with the high-energy ‘Sunday School’.
This trick is repeated throughout; when the handclapping intro of ‘She’s Gonna Love Me’ rolls around, you will be, as I was, completely and utterly captivated – convinced that, at least for the rest of this release, that this band can do no wrong.
With Victims, Enemies and Old Friends, Doc Daily and Magnola Devil just might have made a deal with Old Scratch himself in order to produce a work so well-rounded and so complete.