McDougall is a one-named, one-man band, but don’t let appearances fool you. He packs a lot of sound into just a few instruments.
This Portland-based artist combines folk and country, with a slight surf rock edge. His latest single off of his new EP easily straddles the indie country and rock genres, creating a sound all of his own.
“High Wires and Wild Fires” comes out of the gate with a clean, slow guitar riff that would be welcome at any surf party. The track kicks it up a notch on the chorus, with an upbeat kickdrum and layered guitar chords. McDougall’s vocals are unmistakable. He has a high, piercing edge to his voice that gives the song some serious punch. It has a soft, sweet quality to it that contrasts expertly with the punky tone of the song. On the recording, he stacks multiple vocal tracks on top of one another, creating a wall of sound that’s unusual for a single artist to produce.
When he performs live, McDougall usually sits behind a drum set, playing guitar or banjo at the same time. His live shows combine acoustic guitars with harmonicas for a classic folk country sound. This one-man sound machine has managed to perform three instruments at the same time on stage, not including vocals. If McDougall can put an instrument on his body, he’ll find a way to incorporate it live.
When he talks about the lyrics for “High Wires and Wild Fires,” McDougall says, “This is about when the consequences of our life’s choices become so overwhelming that we hardly recognize ourselves anymore and start to see the reality of our situation. It’s very difficult to go through, but a good opportunity to start making changes and not continue to give in to the destructive old ways we’ve gotten used to.”
The song is the latest off of his upcoming, three-song EP called Diversions. He previously released a self-titled album, making Diversions his sophomore effort.
Take a listen to his newest track, “High Wires and Wild Fires,” below: