D.W. Doucet, known for his unique Americana roots guitar sounds, was not always a musician. In fact, this love came by an accident and out of necessity. As a child, he struggled to communicate. He learned early how to be a showman, and he used his gifts to overcome this barrier.
“As a kid, I had a terrible stutter. It started as a child into my teenage years into when I was in college,” Doucet says. “When I discovered music, I gained confidence in myself that nothing else gave me, because I always struggled to communicate one-on-one with people in school. As a stutterer, it was difficult. I created these characters. So in school, I was always being silly. Jim Carrey very (much) influenced me. I would create great characters. That is how I communicate with people, by being a showman. I would put on little shows and the sandbox using weird voices, because as a stutter if you use a different voice you don’t stutter.”
After his years of mastering the art of the schoolyard crowd, he became a sports showman. He was a gifted point guard at 12. His music tastes at that point were mostly pop sounds such as Michael Jackson. He became focused on training for basketball and with coaches from UCLA. He dabbled in video games — particularly a skateboarding video game. It was not the competition on the screen that drew him in but the soundtrack. It was punk rock and when he played he saw music in a new way. D.W. says, “I was immediately hooked and soon thereafter, a friend of mine brought over a Fender Stratocaster. And I was in love.”
Doucet played in punk bands and took a chance on the angst of living out his dreams of music. He stopped playing video games. He stopped playing basketball and turned to guitar. “I was heavy into punk rock,” he recalls. “Punk rock last me until I was like into my early 20s. Funny. I never could write a good punk song.” Then he went to music school at a community college in Death Valley, California, and the music changed. He discovered blues. He learned jazz. He discovered himself more. And then he heard “Mule Variations” by Tom Waits, and he knew exactly what he had been missing in music. He also discovered sociology and abandoned his music degree. He found what he was seeking within himself and just wanted to focus on folk blues.
Doucet moved to Boston and played house shows with a community of like-minded musicians really solidifying his passion and mastering his craft. “I was there from age 24 to 30. So I spent my 20s there pretty much. It’s where I discovered myself. That’s where I felt most comfortable and I wrote songs. I never played shows in Boston. I was always focused on my creativity. I took a long time to focus in and finding my creative self. Until recently, where I felt comfortable with myself to write songs.”
Doucet evolved and felt complete. He moved to Colorado for a girl but what he found was a new community of musicians and an inclusiveness he had yet to experience in the music industry. He was a one-man band. He had a guitar and metal remnants made of a railroad track he hits with a blacksmith Hammer from the ’40s and a telephone mic from a 1950s rotary phone.
In Fort Collins, he said he blossomed, feeling comfortable and welcomed. He met friends such as folk musician Derek Blake and The Ugly Architect. He toured around the country and got some great recognition. Doucet says his sound isn’t just blues, “I love Mississippi Blues, McDowell, John Hurt Hill, Country Blues, Junior Kimbrough, and R.L. Burnside. I play this music because I love it so much. There’s so much raw power to draw energy from them. So I love playing their songs, but I play so much more.” He adds, “In terms of an original songwriter, my music definitely waivers more to folk country Americana.”
Doucet has been heavy at work recording a new album set to release by the New Year. It has nostalgic themes about his youth. About drinking when he was young and living in Canada. It is essentially about fighting his demons and being O.K. with them, accepting them. Doucet says, “I’m not writing fun, shallow songs, although some of them sound kind of fun. They’re from a very, very deep place. I’m painting a song. I start with the song title and then everything else just kind of just drops in.”