Trying to find an innovative artist in the current country music scene is akin to searching for an honest politician. That makes it all the more exciting when a talent like Luke Doucet rises above the crowd. With Broken (and other rogue states), Doucet delivers 13 tracks of liquored-up heartache – hardly new subject matter for country music – each resonating with a pained beauty that instantly engages the listener. At one point, Doucet refers to his broken heart as “a martyr’s scar.” Though the subject matter gets repetitive, each intricately crafted song displays a different approach to the subject. This isn’t your average, clichéd country music. In truth, Doucet’s music has more in common with Roy Orbison and Wilco than anything polluting the airwaves of country stations.
The album features aspects of southern rock, blues, jazz, and even surf rock, as in the hook-filled “Emily, Please.” Doucet’s virtuoso guitar-work ranges from beautiful fingerpicking to fuzzed-out guitar solos. His soft voice glides across the music, filling it with such emotion as only his depressed state can (“I’m a dreamer with conquered eyes”). The disc ends with “Keep Her Away From Me,” a stomping track that sounds like the result of Waylon Jennings covering a George Clinton song. Purists might say that this album isn’t true country music, but that’s more of an indictment of country music than it is a critique of Doucet.