Luke Dowler is a seemingly perpetually under the radar songwriter based in Montana, that has had somewhat of a history with Tuned Up. His manager Andrew Jones stumbled upon us on Twitter over 5 years ago. And the rest, as they say is history. The beauty of these relationships (and the internet in general) is that sometimes we get a special glimpse of gems that are hidden from the rest of the world. The catch-22 is that of course we wish that gem, in this case Luke Dowler, would not be hidden from the world, but we feel privileged to know him nonetheless.
Dowler’s sound is down to earth yet layered. “Mercy! Mercy! Mercy!” came to me as somewhat of a surprise given the lens Dowler has established. Crunchy guitars and speak-sing vocals remind me of some of Switchfoot’s more aggressive moments, and even bordering on Royal Blood at times. This is definitely Dowler at his most rockin’, yet that vibe of being approachable is not lost.
Dowler is also capable of channeling poignant moments, which seem to be more his specialty. Album opener “For God’s Sake” is a driving, pensive number that is somewhat of a head scratcher for an album opener but fortunately I have the aforementioned “Mercy!…” to snap me out of my trance. “Honey Don’t Leave” is a song about heartbreak that sounds new and familiar at the same time. Admittedly, this isn’t the type of song I’d seek out on my own a ton, but I see potential for cross appeal between demographics. “Out of My Hands” is the type of feels journey that is more up my alley, personally, with it’s atmospheric undertone and more restrained vocals. As someone who is naturally pensive and sensitive, anything that appeals to my default state of being and also avoids pursuit of outright sadness is something I can appreciate. That effect is also used well in album closer “Baby, We’re All Monsters.”
In short, Luke Dowler is a pretty darn reliable indie artist is you like humble rock n’ roll with a splash of Americana, and South is an unsurprising, yet nevertheless appreciated step in Dowler’s career.