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Luke Doucet | Aloha Manitoba (Six Shooter)
This is an unassuming little album that should be lapped up by anyone who is a fan of singer-songwriters. Opening with the jaunty Outlaws, complete with cod cowboy lead guitar, 'Aloha Manitoba' is nothing less than a delight upon repeated plays. In Canada, Doucet is hailed as a virtuoso guitarist who has contributed to recordings and live concerts by Sarah McLachlan, Oh Susanna and Chantal Kreviazuk. But on this, his debut album, Doucet's vocal and lyrical prowess comes to the fore. His songs are imbued with a pleasing charm and no small sense of humour, while the twelve songs on offer vary from gentle rockers to lo-fi-ish experiments in rhythm. Doucet has reinforced the Canadian connection by recruiting the criminally-underrated Blue Rodeo's Bazil Donovan on bass and Barry Mirochnick on drums. The rest, I assume is played by Doucet himself, who swings from acoustic to electric to slide guitar with aplomb. 'Aloha Manitoba' is not likely to win any awards, but has an honesty and likeability that means you'll want to file under: nice one.

John Stacey
November-December 2004