Young Man On A Ferry is another album that arrived out of the blue. Dom Prag is based in the Southampton area and, although this is his debut album, he’s been paying his dues and gaining support for a few years now, including an EP, Talitha And Other Tales in 2015. He’s played a lot of festivals and collaborated on The Ferry Tales project on the Isle of Wight.
It falls to me to describe Dom’s music and that isn’t easy given the variety of influences he draws upon. Young Man On A Ferry is one man and a guitar but Dom also plays in a band, which I’d very much like to hear. To begin at the beginning, then. I wasn’t immediately taken with the opening track, ‘Damn Song’ – it is boisterous to the point of being raucous but in the middle comes a contrasting quiet passage. As Dom picks up the pace again I heard something Dylanesque in the melody and approach. The next song, ‘Charlotte’s Not Coming And Neither Is Claire’ is full of youthful angst and nihilism but not in a self-pitying way. ‘Self Medicating Man’ continues the theme except that Dom uses the trick of playing the guitar twice as quickly as the melody. I wasn’t surprised to learn that he has covered ‘1952 Vincent Black Lightning’.
Things change again as Dom performs a lovely setting of John Keats’ ‘Meg Merrilies’, possibly my favourite track in the set. Then come two traditional songs, ‘Cold Haily Windy Night’ and ‘Blackleg Miner’ and we’re back to boisterous again. There are two of Dom’ ferry tales and then comes ‘My Grandpa Like So Many’, a song of the most astonishing bitterness. It reminds me of Steve Pledger’s ‘Friends & Fathers’ but where Steve has come to terms with the situation, the younger Dom retains his anger, spreading it across three generations.
Dom Prag will be big very soon but for all its good points Young Man On A Ferry isn’t perfect. Like many young artists, Dom needs a sympathetic producer, not to change him but maybe just to smooth off the odd rough edge.
Artist’s website: https://www.domprag.com/
‘Cold Haily Windy Night’ – live: