Singer-songwriter Doug Levitt has shared his new single “Highway Signs,” the next offering from his upcoming debut album Edge of Everywhere, out March 3. The cathartic new track boasts masterful roots production and serves as the emotional centerpiece of Edge of Everywhere, which strikingly documents Levitt’s Greyhound bus travels for more than a decade with over 120,000 miles logged and the inspiring stories of folks he met along the way.
“‘Highway Signs’ is the central thematic bridge of the album, it’s about my own moving through these various landscapes over time and long distances,” shares Levitt. “It’s also a song about self-reconciliation because 100,000 miles all merge into ourselves in this life on the run. We can’t outrun ourselves. And that’s also what’s at the heart of this record which is that these songs are meant to, if anything, be allegorical road signs marking the map of our emotions and our collective psyche because ultimately it is the connection that is happening in passing between people who you are very unlikely to see again. But there is a commonality of the human condition that reveals itself above the armrests and over the rumble of the wheels, between meal stops and truck stops, smoke breaks and transfers at three in the morning half-asleep. These are often slow reveals to a story.”
Produced by multiple GRAMMY Award-winner Trina Shoemaker (Brandi Carlile, Josh Ritter, Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris), Edge of Everywhere at its core is about empathy and connection, colored by touching vignettes of the human condition. These stirring narratives range from a father who faced the law after running from it as a lesson for his offspring to a daughter who fulfilled the dreams of her late mother in hopes of bringing them closer and more. The anthemic title track was recently praised by Americana Highways who said, “Bright acoustic strings and soul searching lyrics earmark Doug Levitt’s music as the reflective, sorrowful catharsis we all need this season.”
With a bourbon-rich baritone and a range that reaches the heights of a falsetto at times recalling Cat Stevens, Levitt brings listeners along on a transcendental trip in which we are all travelers on a bus writ large. Following the success of a BBC World Service documentary in 2018, two more documentaries about his Greyhound journeys are planned to broadcast later this year on BBC Radio 4 and BBC 4 TV, featuring songs from Edge of Everywhere.
Perhaps it was suffering tragedy as a young person which made Levitt so receptive to other people’s stories. When he was 16, he tragically found his father dead by suicide. For years, he says, he couldn’t cry and turned to music as an outlet. But before using that music to reflect the journeys of others, he set out on his own, first at Cornell, where he studied Critical Thinking with Carl Sagan, and then as a London-based foreign correspondent for CNN and ABC filing dispatches from such places as Iran, Rwanda, Bosnia and Gaza.
He followed those instincts to Music City, USA. Not long after moving to Nashville, Levitt set out on his first Greyhound tour, with nothing but an initial six-week bus pass, a Gibson J-100, a copy of Woody Guthrie’s Bound for Glory, a country to cross and an American story to tell, one about life from the margins in. More than 120,000 Greyhound miles on from that first tour — with stops along the way playing in everything from prisons, VAs, and shelters to the Kennedy Center, Woody Guthrie Center, and Martin Luther King’s church — have all culminated in the moving opus that is Edge of Everywhere, a testament-in-song to belonging and connection in the face of uncertainty.
Photo Courtesy: Patrick Fraser