Americana crooner spends too much time following his influences to make an album that even comes close to be distinctive or memorable.
Pitched somewhere between the Americana-rock swagger of the Backyard Tire Fire and a rootsier-sounding Old 97s, Syracuse's own Doug Keith aims to make that classic mid-day back-porch kind of record that so many alt-country artists desperately want to make with Here's to Outliving Me, his second album. Though Keith's intentions are noble, the end result, unfortunately, is a horribly forgettable affair. His melodies aren't bad by any means; they're just indistinctive, as if all the worshipping at the altar of Uncle Tupelo couldn't save Keith from his own songwriting influences (think Wilco's A.M., just duller). On the bright side, opener "The West Coast" adds a bit more of a professional pop sheen to things (making the melodies much clearer, incidentally), and the totally solo "Take the Hammer Down, Dear" proves to be one of the disc's most lasting tunes (unintentionally copping, of all things, Coldplay's "Till Kingdom Comes"), but in the end, Here to Outliving Me proves to be one of the most generic Americana records to come by in some time.