When looking up Denver artist Doug Balmain, the words Rock & Roll and soul come up often. However after listening to his latest EP Burnin’ Both Ends, I don’t believe those words alone do his music justice. Every track on the album sounds as though he placed a piece of his own soul in it. It feels reflective, like an autobiography in a more poetic form. It will almost have you feeling like your speakers are confiding in you.
The opening track “Burnin’ Both Ends” is reminiscent of Canadian 1970s rock, a sound more recently captured in music by The Sheepdogs. In fact, both the guitar riff and Balmain’s voice are very similar to that of The Sheepdogs. It’s the perfect song to listen to when you’re out on the open road; with a catchy rock & roll sound, seeping with Blues and Country influences.
“I’ve Seen Days” and “Meet Me” are both soulful blues songs with a strong country influence, and sound very much like gospel music. They are both motivating tracks with strong vocals and beautiful harmonies for back-up vocals that will leave you feeling relaxed and inspired.
“The Hole You Dug” feels influenced by the roots of soul music, when people sang just to try and get through their days of slavery. It is music at its purest, most stripped-down form, and will bring you back to an era of tears and strength. There is the sound of what appears to be chains in the background which, with the track’s moving lyrics and haunting vocals, is sure to leave you breathless and humbled.
Contrary to the other tracks, “Home” is a cross between a romantic slow-dancing song and a cheery lament. Though that may be paradoxical, this can be said since the lyrics of the song don’t give the impression of extreme sadness, whereas the guitar chords do. Unlike the rest of the album, this song can be described as purely country. The symbolism and imagery in its lyrics are so powerful that you will want to hold your loved ones close to you and never let go.
The album’s final song “Bad Habits” has the album coming full circle as it pleasantly resembles the first track. Overall, this EP is perfect for those who want to listen to a medley of genres, while feeling intimate with their music.
Written by Franca G. Mignacca