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Reviewed by Matt Herrett

Phil Doublet: Endless Highway

Reviewed by Matt Herrett

Phil Doublet: Endless Highway

From the opening notes it’s abundantly clear where Phil Doublet‘s allegiances lie. The tone and sheen of a Nashville production is embraced wholeheartedly, from the polished, fat mix to the solid performances. Doublet’s vision is executed confidently by a kick-ass crew that includes drummer/producer Arnie Van Bussel. Doublet tackles the lion’s share of the instrumentation and proves adept at pretty much anything with a string across it, or keys, notwithstanding the fine efforts of Anita Clark on violin and veteran pedal steel player Paddy Long. Things take a more reflective tone four songs in with Nothing Else to Do, the first self-recorded solo track on the album. At times, the DI’ed guitar and programmed drums detract a little from the expensive feel of the production, but testament to the quality of the mix this is barely noticeable. The closing, dramatic, Norfolk Trilogy is an atmospheric 11-minute epic that recalls the convict history of Norfolk Island. The song runs the gamut of creaking Dobro blues to full on soaring Gilmour-esque slide electric, marching drums and, best of all, a cameo from Doublet’s own father, whose gravelly, working class tones effortlessly support the weight of the often grim subject matter. Lyrically, there’s nothing here that’s going to give Dave Alvin any nightmares, but that lazy comparison should be more than enough to give a sense of the quality of Doublet’s work. His lived-in voice, solid sense of melody and very sharp guitar playing clearly demonstrate that he’s far from outgunned by any peers.

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