In some ways, the latest album from Kalispell musician Luke Dowler is simply a rock album. With stadium chants, catchy hooks and danceable beats, “Polarized” isn’t too different from other rock or pop albums on the charts today.
“My first goal was to make a record that would make you want to jump in your car, roll down your windows and go for a night drive,” Dowler said in a recent interview. “That was the feel that I wanted to make on the record.”
But the album also has a message that goes beyond feel-good, driveable melodies. “Polarized” explores the things that keep people apart, Dowler said.
“I was kind of really thinking about what keeps people from coming together. What keeps people from having a conversation even,” he said.
“It’s kind of getting to the point, at least here, where it feels like we can’t even have conversations about certain things. We’ve kind of demonized each other if we don’t agree.”
That attitude is dangerous, Dowler said. People are people, whatever their beliefs.
“Maybe it’s idealistic, but at the end of the day, we all still bleed. We’re all still human beings. [We need] to have a little love and respect for each other,” he said.
Dowler is quick to say he doesn’t have answers to the issues that polarize people.
“I’m just talking about it. Exploring it. Saying, can’t we do better than this? That’s the inferred question at the end of the day I guess I’m asking,” he said.
“Polarized” was released on Dream records Sept. 18. It’s Dowler’s third official release, although he has “a backload of others I worked on here in the valley.”
In his years as a musician, Dowler has sung with ska and rock groups The Royal Rangers and Three Minutes From Home, and has drawn comparisons to U2, Bruce Springsteen and Christian rock group Needtobreathe, to name a few. The sound on this album is difficult to pigeonhole, Dowler said; he described it as “Springsteen meets Jimmy Eat World meets John Mayer meets Bob Marley.”
Flathead residents can check out that sound for themselves Friday night. Dowler is putting on a free concert at the Red Lion Hotel Kalispell to celebrate the release of “Polarized.”
“It’s to celebrate the release, but it’s also a thanks to local fans and family, the guys that have been supporting us and helping us to do this,” he said. “And we really want to hopefully earn new fans.”
Free tickets to the show are available at Colter Coffee and the Red Lion. VIP tickets are available for $10; they give ticket holders access to reserved seating, catered hors d’oeuvres and a $5 discount on the album. For VIP tickets, call 270-5649.
Local musicians Mike Murray and the Izzy Ray Band will open the show at 7 p.m. Dowler said he expects to go on sometime around 8:30 p.m.
“We’re wanting it to be kind of a fun, memorable night of local Montana rock ‘n’ roll,” Dowler said.
“I can promise that we’re going to put everything out there,” he added. “It’s going to be a really great night.”
From Kalispell, Dowler and his band will hit the road on a nearly two-month tour that will take them all over the United States. They expect to return from the Won’t Burn Out Tour sometime around Thanksgiving.
Dowler said he is looking forward to performing over the next several weeks.
“With the way the music industry is now, you’ve got to get to where the people are. You’ve got to kind of put yourself before them and hope that they like you,” he said.
“That’s what I love to do: I love to connect to crowds. I still believe in the power of rock ‘n’ roll.”
Tour dates and additional information about Dowler and “Polarized” are available at www.lukedowler.com.
Kristi Albertson, editor of This Week in the Flathead, may be reached at 758-4438 or at email@example.com.