David Doucet

Quand J'ai Parti

Rounder, 1991

Beausoleil guitarist David Doucet steps out from under the considerable shadow of his fiddler brother Michael on this one, in which he defines a new role for the guitar in Cajun music. His acoustic flatpicking has a relaxed-yet-polished feel that recalls Norman Blake or Doc Watson (although, to be fair, Doucet isn't as impressive a guitarist as either). The connection to bluegrass and "old-timey" music is further emphasized by the presence of dobroist Josh Graves, who singlehandedly established the dobro as a bluegrass instrument. Well, okay, that's an exaggeration -- he used both hands. Graves is an extremely versatile player, and his contributions here fit in perfectly. All the other members of Beausoleil are featured as well, but in a more relaxed, back-porch style than their usual rocking approach. "J'etais au Bal" could almost pass for a straight bluegrass tune, except for the absence of banjo and a subtly more swinging, less driving rhythm. Doucet's vocals are comfortable and understated, again reminiscent somewhat of Blake, on the mostly traditional repertoire, all sung in French. Highly recommended to fans of the folkier side of Cajun music, but also to fans of traditional acoustic music of all sorts.

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