Kalispell singer-songwriter Luke Dowler is a well-rounded rock musician. The guitarist has made videos and written for films, and his compositions have been heard on television. He writes a blog and hosts “Dowlercast,” a weekly interview show, among other pursuits.
Dowler left his record label in 2012 after his first release, Polarized. He says the company didn’t do much for him except cost him money, so he decided to make his own records. He embarked on a four-directions effort called the Compass Project, (North and South have been released), playing all the instruments and recording the series in his home studio. With West, a five-song EP, he blends rock, soul and folk-blues influences into well-crafted storysongs.
It possesses the usual Dowler touches: clean production, great melodies and contemplative lyrics. First comes “Firewater Revelation.” Dowler explores the seduction of alcohol, a national phenomenon surely, but most definitely woven into the fabric of the western states. “The jukebox cancels out the pain … ’til tomorrow comes, you’re unrestrained,” he sings in his grainy baritone. It’s got cool rock-steady percussion and an infectious hook.
“Good Enough” is a loping rock ballad about a man who can’t seem to please his lover, but keeps trying. It sports a pretty melody and an emotive, wailing chorus as Dowler’s warm, trembly vocals and crooning falsetto take on a scratchy edge.
There’s the chilling modernity of “Halfway,” a solid rocker with lots of reverb-y vocals and a fuzzed-up guitar riff as Dowler sings, “We’re only halfway here … look into the future, cell phones and computers, everybody wants the voice of God …” Ooh!
There aren’t many songs here, but each is complete and thought-provoking. Visit lukedowler.com.
– Mariss McTucker