Somewhere on the plains of Canada's cold wastes rides a man of vim and vigor, one hand on his gee-tar, the other on a bottle of … whatever you need to get s**t-faced.
But this man ain't no Johnny Cash, with stories of prison and the dark, dark times of a true man in black.
No, Luke Doucet sings the songs of all of us: love lost, anxiety, love forgotten, shyness … even heroin lovers abandoned as they retch away their addiction in treatment.
His lyrics tell stories to which we relate, his music is a palatable dance of blues, country and rock … sometimes an electric-guitar-tinged song worthy of Cracker's trailer-trash-lovin' Johnny Hickman like "Buttercloud … sometimes spare blues instrumentalism like "Spiderman."
But always with great turns of phrase, never too fast or too slow … just natural. From "Spiderman": "Now she's on her way back, the anesthetic's got her all fired down, she bottomed out but I was way too chicken s**t to stick around her and wipe her forehead and keep her company." That's a long line that could maul the mouth, but Doucet's got a sense for rhythm, harmony, melody and complementary chords that make mouthfuls a good meal.
The music's got a mixture of blues, country and rock. The album opened, "Emily, Please" is a loping country tango with sweetness, long and rocking guitar. These tracks are all live (save for two slow ones recorded in studio) with downbeats and trills and strumming mixed in like a great Jeff Buckley song, all sweet and hard and passion by a guy who can sing and plays with his voice and his words.
The Old 97s and the rest of you country-blues-pop bands better watch the f**k out. Doucet's on your ass.