Hear It First: Michael Doucet avec Lâcher Prise, 'Lâcher Prise'

by Henry Carrigan (@henry.carrigan), Folk Alley

Micheal Doucet Folk Alley review

There’s magic in this new music from Michael Doucet, and the album lives up to its title, which means to “let go.” Doucet and the band let loose in a simmering blend of Cajun, swamp soul, and Gypsy tunes that celebrate love and the simple joys of having a good time. From the gamboling fiddles of the opening tune, “Water, Water,” to the haunting Gypsy shuffle “Bad Woman,” Doucet and the band create a sonic landscape filled with soaring vocals, scampering fiddles and accordions, and haunting lyrics.

Doucet, the founder of BeauSoleil, gathers a dynamic band for Lâcher Prise, including Sarah Quintana on vocals and guitar, Chad Viator on guitar, Chris French on bass, and Jim Kolacek on drums. The origins of the band go back to Mardi Gras 2018. Doucet met Quintana one night at his favorite local bar, when “a girl in a pink wig and dress” struck up a conversation with him. She shared some of her music with him, and he arranged an informal jam session: “We played, and it was just magic,” he recalls. “We did our first gig two weeks later.”

Lâcher Prise opens with the dance-across-the-floor “Water, Water,” an Acadian rouser that floats along the dancing rivulets of fiddle and accordion runs chasing each other into a rushing river of sound. As Doucet says, “We obviously have a problem with water in Louisiana. About three years ago, there was a thunderstorm over Lafayette and the Parish, raining 24 inches in 24 hours. It flooded everything. I had to go rescue my daughter-in-law. When I came back, my friends got flooded. The chorus just came to me.”

The romping, energetic, and playful take on Boozoo Chavis’ “Lula Lula Don’t You Go to Bingo” rambunctiously rides the call-and-response vocals and Doucet’s buoyant fiddle. “Dites Moi Pas” opens with a chorus of fiddles blossoming into a mournful somber country weeper, with an achingly beautiful guitar solo on the bridge.

The minor chord march “Walkin’ on a Mardi Gras Day” undulates like a lazy river, layering one musical tone over another musical tone to create a shimmering atmospheric mood. The slowly developing music mimics the singer’s slowly evolving love affair. Doucet describes it as “one of the truest love songs I’ve ever written, in a way—not about losing or gaining love, but just being in love.”

Sprightly fiddles weave under Quintana’s transporting vocals in the opening lines of the Gypsy jazz “Bad Woman,” while “Marie Catin” rides along a jumping and scampering Cajun rhythm. It’s a lively, just plain fun tune. The album closes with the lively orchestral romp “Cajun Gypsy,” a collaboration with Turtle Island Quartet.

The spirit of fun on Lâcher Prise is palpable. The album captures the energy of a live performance; the music wends its way into our hearts and bodies and won’t let us sit still, inviting us to laugh, dance, and embrace those we love.

Lâcher Prise is out this Friday, 2/14 on Compass Records and is available for pre-order now: HERE

Michael Doucet avec Lâcher Prise upcoming tour dates

SAT 2/15: New Orleans, LA - Chickie Wah Wah (full band)

TUE 2/18: Berkeley, CA - Ashkenaz Community Center “An Evening with Michael Doucet & Sarah Quintana"

WED 2/19: Soquel, CA - Michael’s On Main “An Evening with Michael Doucet & Sarah Quintana"

THU 2/20: Winters, CA - Palms Playhouse “An Evening with Michael Doucet & Sarah Quintana"

WED 3/25: Old Saybrook, CT - Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (trio)

THU 3/26: Saratoga, NY - Caffe Lena (trio)

FRI 3/27: Natick, MA - Natick Center for the Arts (trio)

MON 3/30: Vienna, VA - Jammin Java (trio)

TUE 3/31: Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live (trio)

THU 4/2: Northampton, MA - Iron Horse (trio)

FRI 4/3: Ogunquit ME - Jonathans (trio)

SUN 4/5: New York, NY - Joe's Pub (trio)

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