Now available on Spotify, Doug Kistner has released a pair of wonderful singles that we’re going to look at today. First up we’ve got “Only Road I Know”, the intro of sorts to the tracks. It’s got some fantastic instrumentals with fresh vocals by Kistner as he sings about looking back on his life, wondering about the ups and downs and his bad luck with women and money and how in the end, it leads him back to the lonely singular road he walks on. It’s kind of a dour song when you really unpack it, but it’s performed so powerfully as a ballad and so many elements keep it from devolving into something that might sound more miserable than it could come across in lesser hands.
The instrumental backings are great especially with a jazzy sax solo from Former Billy Joel Sax-man Richie Cannata. Everything about this track works from start to finish and if you’re the type looking for something breezy but potent maybe on a long night drive, this is the track for you. Some might be put off by its old-school vibes, but they’d be missing out on something new from someone who’s been in the business for quite some time. It has all the makings of a Yacht Rock classic especially with the mixture of artificial and real instruments and I know I said it before, but damn that sax solo is just mint. Some fantastic work all around.
Next up we have the second single released that’s also available on Spotify, “Since We Left Our Dreams”. This one is embued with so much soul and it takes an even heavier turn than the former with lyrics talking about the feelings of loneliness, memories you’re unable to escape, and that never-ending sense of isolation. Even in 2021 as we come to the end of this nightmare that has been the pandemic, it’s deeply relatable. I’m not sure when these songs were recorded but if it was before 2020, he seriously had some incredible hindsight abilities. The opening keys on this are so rapturous and inviting and they honestly make you think for a moment this might be the more happy song lyrically but once again it’s like a trojan horse where it hooks you in only to surprise you with more depth than you may have been ready for.
There’s no major blaring sax solo like there were in the song before, but the instruments in the break do great work together and build the song up to a great tipping point, all while Kistner’s magnetic voice keeps you invested and engaged. I seriously found myself nodding along and just wanting to go for a drive around the town while listening to both. They’re the song of a bygone era, the jokey term of “Yacht Rock” aside. They’re a little cheesy and hokey, but it’s kind of like Superman. It’s easier to say you don’t like him because he represents something older, but lighter, but like Superman, these songs are powerful.