The frontman from Vancouver-based rock band Veal ventures out on his own with the effortlessly beautiful Aloha, Manitoba. The material ventures from pop to folk and alt country -- with clever witticisms and wry humor peppered throughout. Luke Doucet is easily one of the best young guitar players in Canada -- he has been playing professionally since the age of 15, backing such internationally renowned artists as Sarah McLachlan and Chantal Kreviazuk -- but his guitar playing on his solo debut never comes off as showy. Instead, he comes across as a player so good that he's immune to conceit. Although his voice isn't necessarily best suited to quieter songs, the youthful exuberance and subtle nuances that his vocals bring to the material more than makes up for his lack of vocal dynamics. Although Canadian born and bred, Doucet has an affinity for penning songs that sound like they not only came from but are about America. Songs like "New York," a wistful tune about a transvestite hoping to go to the Big Apple, afraid of being perceived as peculiar and being consoled by a friend, "Dear boy, there are stranger things that you in New York." Taking into account that he won Musician of the Year honors at the 2001 West Coast Music Awards, it's only a matter of time before his solo material is more widely recognized, and he is no longer recognized mainly for solely his guitar work supporting other musicians.
Aloha, Manitoba Review
by Linda Woods