“In many ways, Michael C. Duguay fits more comfortably in the great tradition of Canadian literature than Canadian rock and roll. With his elegant wordplay, thoughtfully annotated and cleverly obscured references, and deeply confessional style of poetic storytelling, Duguay has more in common with, say, Alice Munor or Timothy Findley as anyone in contemporary music. Which is to say that Michael C. Duguay doesn’t sound much like anyone else. Enigmatic as he may be, Michael accomplishes the arduous task of immersing his listener in his complex universe through work which is both familiar and unsettling, encyclopedic and deeply esoteric, whimsical and stone-cold stoic. With songs that are shaped by and which, in turn, transliterate his singular breadth of experience and discursive influences, Michael’s commanding grasp on his craft procures him an anomalous place in the lineage of great Canadian writers.”
Once a sought-after, globe-trotting multi-instrumentalist, Michael C. Duguay first surfaced in the Canadian music landscape as a collaborative member of a number of critically acclaimed projects. While touring the world as a backing musician, Michael was covertly recognized in the Canadian music community as an enigmatic personality and a perplexingly gifted artist, songwriter, and poet whose prolific creative output and busy touring schedule often stood in the way of formally documenting his own work. In 2012, he self-released Heavy on the Glory, a collection of eight songs written and recorded between 2004 and 2010. Working with producer James Bunton and over fifty other musicians in the shared living space of the communal artist co-op that he inhabited in downtown Peterborough, Ontario, the album showcased Duguay’s emerging knack for unique and lucent storytelling, a penchant for compositions and arrangements equal parts adroit pop and avant-garde, entrenched in punk rock ethos and energy.
Considered amongst his friends and collaborators to be an Orphic and vital documentation of Duguay’s conspicuous ability, Heavy on the Glory remained relatively unheard. Shortly after the album’s release, Duguay’s health and personal life unravelled. Following a move to Sackville, New Brunswick, Duguay suffered a series of mental breakdowns, resulting in institutionalization, addiction, and, ultimately, homelessness. From 2013 to 2016, he disappeared from the Canadian music scene completely.
Resurfacing in Kingston, Ontario in 2016, where sustained and determined efforts from his friends, band mates, and family contributed to a return to health and stability, Duguay set out to record his second album with co-producer Jonas Bonnetta at his Port William Sound studio in Mountain Grove, Ontario. The results, The Winter of our Discotheque, are a collection of songs that offer a sobering insight into the mind of a unique artist obsessed with the meticulous craft of honest songwriting, with storytelling rooted in a grit that most of us will never experience or feel.
Pull the dark corners of our lives and histories out into the light. From the darkness comes a resolve that while everything might not be okay all the time, there is hope through perseverance and empathy for the human condition.
Andrew Wells on Vocals/Guitar
Anita LeBaron on Violin/Vocals
Andrew Ince on Guitar/Synth/Keys
Grant Slavin on Bass
Jeremy Stovell on Percussion/Drums
Find out more about Sing Leaf on their Bandcamp Page.