Review: Doug Martsch

Doug Martsch
““Now You Know””
(Warner Brothers)

Built to Spill’s been laying low for a while, but main man Doug has still been busy recording and performing the results of his obsession with country blues.  Yeah, a white guy doing blues.  Sounds like a bummer, but it doesn’’t come off like Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn or one of those Strat/Fender Twin collectin’, middles-aged basement rockers you always see hanging around
in guitar stores and talking somebody’s ear off.  It doesn’t sound like your dirty garage white guy version of the blues either.  Doug has his usual mellow but deep and swimmy kind of vibe going on here whether it’s just stripped down to him, guitar and slide or he has a whole band (occasionally including cello) to back up his slippery, psychedelic musings.  While not a traditional blues album at all, it does showcase Doug making his own personal, idiosyncratic use of old Delta/Country techniques and, as always with Martsch, it’s a delightful outing.  He says now all he’s been listening to is reggae, so one can only imagine what his next solo work is going to be