My introduction to Luke Doucet came at The Independent in San Francisco, when Kathleen Edwards brought the Canadian guitar dynamo out as her special guest on lead guitar.
I'd never even heard the name, but he proved to be a commanding player, flashy when necessary but always true to the song.
He's apparently backed all sorts of folks, including Sarah McLachlan and a host of other performers, but is sadly little known in the U.S.
Doucet filled in marvelously during Edwards' S.F. show, and in fact one of the show's highlights was a duet they turned in on Springsteen's "I'm On Fire," stripping the tune down to an acoustic guitar and occasional violin.
Last week I remembered to look him up and
lo and behold, Doucet just came out with a new record, Blood's Too Rich, released on the Canadian independent Six Shooter Records.
The U.S. has had a rather fickle approach to Canadian artists, and while it seems like these days Montreal is white-hot south of the border, it's good to remember that only a certain sort of "indie" bands are breaking through from Canada. Artists like Edwards and Doucet might've gotten much more attention a decade ago when the alt.country trend was riding higher here.
Hopefully Doucet gets enough attention because Blood's Too Rich is really a strong record. "The Day Rick Danko Died" is a bluesy romp of an ode to The Band's late bass player and singer, with a ramshackle barroom beat and guitar licks just lapping over every edge of the song.
"It's Only Tuesday" is a mid-tempo rocker that recalls Paul Westerberg's better solo work, while "Blood's Too Rich" rides a sharp-edged, surf style guitar reverb that strangely sounds familiar to the desert tones that show up in Neko Case and Calexico records.
Taken together they demonstrate that Doucet is widely skilled as a guitarist and is a compelling songwriter. It's his seventh album and I'm definitely inspired to start checking out the older stuff.
Check out a clip of Doucet and Edwards doing "I'm On Fire":
Luke Doucet - The Day Rick Danko Died
Luke Doucet - It's Only Tuesday
Luke Doucet - Blood's Too Rich