The Real Doug Lane on Squeezing "Water From the Stone"
Tell us about yourself and your music
My life has been full of ups and downs, wins and losses, adventures, and defeats. I was raised in Texas. I joined the Army at eighteen, performed in Europe with the Army Band, and was deployed to Baghdad. I married my dream girl – a fellow soldier – and we’ve made a life together, raising our four kids. I’ve had my heart broken and lived with depression. I’ve been broke and unemployed, wondering how I was going to feed my family.
And when I sit down to write my songs, I just keep thinking — “I can’t be the only one feeling like this.” And that’s why I write: because someone has to sing it. Someone somewhere is feeling the same way.
So I write songs about getting old, songs about my mom, songs about the political divide, songs about that girl in the office with a secret fun side, songs about anything and everything. I aim for that moment when a fan tells me, “you sang what I was feeling”.
Talk to us more about your latest release
My new album “Water From the Stone” is a collection of songs I’ve written and performed over the last three years with my band. They range stylistically from old-time country to a more modern country-ish. The title track “Water From the Stone” takes its title from an old fairy tale about a tailor who tricks a giant by squeezing water from a piece of cheese that the giant believes is a stone. Here, however, the stone represents the impossibility of being down to your last dollar with no more options. Though the song chugs along at a crisp pace, enlivened by the soulful dobro playing of Mathieu “Reckless Rooster” Robinette, it expresses a sentiment that I believe many are feeling at this moment. We all keep squeezing that stone and hoping that more water will come out.
The first single from the album is “Piss On Your Shoes”, which is a call to civility in this time of such extreme political and social divide. The song reminds us that we don’t have to agree on everything to be friends.
The album was recorded with my band in Salt Lake City and was co-produced by Trevor Price and myself at his studio.
What inspired you to write this release?
I write stories, primarily. Many of those stories are inspired by people I meet, places I go, or conversations I either have or overhear. So, the inspiration for each track is a little different.
“Piss On Your Shoes”, for example, was initially inspired by an uncomfortable bathroom at a local bar, but I quickly realized that it was a perfect metaphor for the state of our country. We’re all rubbing against each other, but ultimately, we can get along if we just don’t urinate on each others’ shoes. Respect for each other, even when it makes you uncomfortable. I just got tired of people being ugly to one another. I think we’ve forgotten that we don’t have to be in complete agreement to be friends or even just friends.
The title track came about because I was broke and didn’t see a way out. So, I decided to write about what I knew: being broke. And that’s where “Water From the Stone” came from.
“Don’t Let Me Go” is a sad song about the conflicted emotions involved in leaving a significant other. When it was written, several close friends were going through breakups or divorces, and it seemed that even when they had good justification to leave, they were looking for a reason to stay.
“After All the Drinking’s Done”, which was originally released on my first EP, came about while I was sitting on a friend’s back porch one summer day, thinking about judgy neighbors. I’m sure no one else has to deal with that!
So, there were many reasons for writing and releasing this album, but ultimately, they were just stories I felt needed to be told.
Describe the writing and recording process
As I mentioned before, some of these songs were written years ago, and my band has been performing them extensively throughout Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado. Those songs were relatively easy to get recorded. We just showed up and did our thing while Trevor Price masterfully captured it. But then you listen back and hear holes or mistakes or things you’d wish were written differently. So I brought in some ringers like Reckless Rooster to spice things up with his fiddle and dobro, Adam Rossi on organ and piano, and Becky Willard on backing vocals and keyboards.
The process took longer than I’d expected. But because we were committed more to quality than to schedule, I feel the overall project benefited.
Any plans to release a video?
Any plans to hit the road?
Like most other artists right now, our tour schedule is suspended while the world deals with this COVID-19 pandemic. We are eager to resume performances as soon as safely possible.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
I call myself The Real Doug Lane, and people always ask myself what that means. To be honest, it started as a joke. But over time, for me “The Real” part alludes to my desire to not put on airs. I’m not going to put a phony accent on just because its trendy. If you hear twang, it’s because I grew up Texan. If you don’t hear twang, it’s because I was raised in a military family with a neutral military accent.
When I first got started, everyone had advice about how I should talk, how I should dress, how I should run my social media, what songs I should or shouldn’t sing. It’s all bullshit.
To paraphrase Johnny Cash, I’m here to do what I want to do and what you guys want me to do. I don’t care what the “experts” think.
So, we sing music that sometimes feels like a throwback, but we’ll throw a little Pink Floyd influence into the mix. I put a lot of emphasis on the musicians I play with, and I love to feature them for extended solos. That’s what my heroes did. So, I want to put my guitarist Chris Henderson front and center. I want people to hear Kyle McCann shred a bass solo. I want people to hear the tight grooves that Tallen Cox lays down on drums. And I want them to hear Rooster fiddle. We may perform under my name, but we are a BAND. And every player in my band deserves to be heard.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Have you heard Andrew Wiscombe’s new album? If his song “White Mache” doesn’t move you to tears… Been listening to him a lot lately. He’s a good buddy of mine.
I’ve also been listening to another friend, Missy Lynn. She’s got a real soulful touch.
Clayton Smalley is one hell of a country singer from Utah, and he’s finally starting to get the attention he deserves.
For mainstream artists, of course, I listen to Isbell, Stapleton, Jinks, Childers, etc.
But there are so many great local artists worth your time. Don’t just listen to the big guys. Wherever you live there are songwriters whose songs deserve to be sung and whose tales deserve to be told. You just have to look around.
Who are your biggest influences?
My first musical influence was Billy Joel. I memorized every album as a child. I loved the melodies he wrote and the characters he weaved into each song.
In high school, I discovered Pink Floyd, and my life was changed by Roger Waters’s writing and David Gilmour’s melodic guitar soloing.
As far as country influences, I look to guys like Willie, Merle, and Waylon of course. But I more closely identify with the songs of Lyle Lovett and Guy Clark.
Tell us about your passions
Apart from music, my main passion is my family. I have hobbies I enjoy, like reading and video games. But I love my wife and kids. They keep me going.
I love watching my son grow into a man. I love watching my daughters flourish on stage as dancers. I could go on endlessly, but long story short: my family is my main passion.
What else is happening next in your world?
I don’t know. Do any of us?
We all had plans, then there was a pandemic.
So, I’m just going to keep moving forward as God wills, and we’ll see where He leads.
Thanks for an awesome interview, The Real Doug Lane
Connect with The Real Doug Lane
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