ALBUM REVIEW: Dougie Poole – The Freelancer’s Blues
BEST TRACKS: Claire, The Who’s Who of Who Cares, Natural Touch, These Drugs Aren’t Working
If you’ve been a long-time listener, you might have heard Dougie Poole playing on WKNC sometime around the end of the year in 2017, which is when Dougie Poole released his first album, Wideass Highway. The album was a huge success among a diverse range of people, from fans of country to fans of lofi hip-hop. This is because Dougie Poole makes a sound that is like no other, incorporating core elements of good ole country, but playing guitar in a very unmistakable heavy psychedelic rock style. I’m happy to report that Dougie Poole’s newest album, The Freelancer’s Blues, is just as signature and unique, though maybe with a twinge more country influence.
The only other time I’ve ever seen psychedelic folk rock even remotely alike is in the self-titled Devarrow album, and even so, the guitar comes nowhere close to matching the hazy, faded ambience that Dougie Poole’s guitar creates. The reverberations consitenty coursing through every song on The Freelancer’s Blues are so strong that your sense of what’s really here and what’s not might get shaken up a little.
Another thing that makes Dougie Poole so incomparable to any other regular country artist is the lyrics. While these songs often tell a story like a country ballad, the lyrical themes stray far from country norms. Dougie Poole often sings about topics relatable to angsty metropolitan youth, like hard party drugs, having a laptop as a best friend, vaping on the job, and failed attempts at becoming a Buddhist. Listen to this album if you’re a broke, romantically alienated 20-something year old living in Raleigh’s urban decay, and you sometimes secretly wish you could live on a ranch in Houston with horses and fields of potatoes, but you know you could never give up Chinese fast food and nightclubs.