The acoustic guitar has been transformed into an important voice of southwest Louisiana's Cajun music by David Doucet. The younger brother of Cajun fiddler Michael Doucet, Doucet has used his distinctive hybrid of folk-style fingerpicking and bluegrass-like flatpicking to strengthen the performances of Beausoleil, the band he's shared with his brother for over 21 years. With the release of his debut solo album, Quand J'ai Parti in 1991, Doucet successfully stepped into the spotlight.
Doucet first played the guitar after recuperating from a broken arm sustained while practicing with his high school football team. Although he initially taught himself to play by using Bob Dylan and Paul Simon songbooks, Doucet became fascinated with flatpicking after listening to an album by Doc Watson.
Together with his brother and banjo player Raoul Breaux, Doucet played Cajun music in Louisiana clubs in 1975. When the project proved commercially unsuccessful, the band broke up with Doucet enrolling in college and his brother going on to form the Cajun rock band Coteau and the original lineup of Beausoleil. A turning point in Doucet's evolution as a guitarist came when he heard the playing of the late Clarence White on an album, The Kentucky Colonels 1965-1967, in 1980. Inspired by White's use of unusual chords and imaginative melodies, Doucet began to develop his own unique style.
Although Doucet did not play on Beausoleil's first recording session in Paris, he joined the group before the recording of their debut album, The Spirit of Cajun Music, in 1976.
Doucet moved to New Orleans, where he continues to reside, in 1980 to work at the World's Fair. In addition to his solo album and recordings with Beausoleil, Doucet was featured on albums by Chuck Guillory (Grand Texas), Octa Clark & Hector Duhon (Ensemble Encore) and Michael Doucet (Dit BeauSoleil).