What I’ve always loved and appreciated about Doug Burr is his willingness to take chances. Each record is uniquely it’s own. The character and sound shifts from album to album. Each is in the same ballpark, but each is their own, singular theme. And Pale White Dove is no different.
Pale White Dove feels like Doug Burr’s most ambitious work to date. Burr channels the spirit of a rebel outlaw backwoods country singing preacher. But only in moments. At other times he’s some version of a classic country corner meets Bob Dylan.
No more is this juxtaposition evident ten in the records first two tracks. White Night Black Light is dark and dirty. You could imagine Burr singing the song in a poorly lit, way too hot church while holding a snake. It instantly ranks with A Black Wave Is Comin’ as my favorite Doug Burr song. But Never Gonna be Young Again drops the grittiness and is just a slice of straight Americana.
There’s a musical tension on Pale White Dove that makes it so compelling. Revolution Son Blues is a bit more of that dirty rock and roll. And it’s a rock song, not a country preacher song like White Night Black Light, but you can feel the similar vibes between the two tracks. And that breaks into I Love To Hate You, more of a low key ballad. More folk than Americana, still just as compelling with a sense of heartache. Ghost On the Water finds a commonality with the gritty and the beautiful. It’s a bridge the ties what Burr is doing together. The guitars are rough around the edges giving an edge to the melody.
I See Satan Fall Like Lightning is the street preacher counterpoint to White Night Black Light. Similar but with it’s own spin and character. Not as driving and the banjo gives it a eerie quality that White Night Black Light doesn’t have. Ghost On the Water/Red Skies is a huge rock song! It has all the elements that made Wovenhand’s Refractory Obdurate so great, but it’s a much grander song.
Burr closes Pale White Dove with the ballad, The Last Confederate Widow. It’s a song that feels more familiar to some Burr’s previous work. It’s a beautiful song.
Pale White Dove is great. At times songs seem disconnected from one to the next, but as a whole and a concept it works brilliantly. Burr took a chance and risk, and I think it paid off. 4.5 out of 5 Stars.