by Peter Mahalik
Recent interest in Cape Breton’s Music has put the spotlight on such acts as Rita MacNeil. The Barra MacNeils, and the Rankin Family. While thuds phenomena is undoubtedly positive, it leaves artists who play non-traditional music sort of out in the cold. Glace Bay’s Doug Johnson is one of these artists. His brand of straight-ahead, screwing in the backseat rock’n’roll provided a welcome change during his East Coast Music Awards showcase at the Delta Ballroom in February. With a seemingly endless supply of energy, hot guitar licks, and intelligently hilarious lyrics, Johnson proved that a Cape Bretoner with a guitar, a brain, and plenty of attitude will rock the house. (ed. note: of course a Cape Bretoner without a guitar or brain can rock the house too, but it’s not as cool.)
Doug Johnson proved himself again during the ECMA festivities with a short but extremely entertaining set at the Royal Yacht Club (disguised as the “Cape Breton Hospitality Suite”). The highlight of this session was his version of Leonard Cohen’s “Tower of Song”. “I was born with a golden voice”. Hell, yeah! During this session he was backed by Eddie “lightening fingers” Woodsworth and the drummer Potmaster of St. John’s, NFLD.
Although the showcase (which also featured Woodsworth and “Matt Foulds on the skins”) rocked, the jam session at the Yacht Club left the crowd with its collective head spinning. There can be no doubt that Dougie’s future is bright enough to warrant a purchase of protective eye-bear. As a wise man once said, “Some people are shot, but some are the shit.” Dougie Johnson is the shit. No shit.