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"Doug Norquay is a Canadian country, folk-roots, bluesman with a sound that harks back to the mid-70s Los Angeles boho scene, but also something darker, desperate and more primal. He plays a mean slide guitar and sings with a voice that'll remind discerning listeners of Howlin Wolf, Tom Waits, Johnny Dowd and Tom Ovans, and writes songs that rattle and shake, sooth and placate, or just plain terrify. This is his third proper album - I think - though there have been a few cassettes released over the years, but it's the first of Norquay's records I've got to hear. That will be remedied.

A stalwart of his local Ontario scene, the list of musicians he's opened for or shared bills or stages with is a who's who of acclaimed artists and performers, blues legends and troubadours, from B.B. King, Buddy Guy and John Hammond, to Ron Sexsmith, Robbie Robertson and Danny Gatton. He's played bars, festivals, shopping malls and sidewalks, mostly solo, and has been recording on and off since the early `90s - it's a wonder he doesn't turn up occasionally on the UK roots circuit. I suspect he'd go down a storm.

He begins his latest offering with "Poor Lightnin", its walking rhythm and Norquay's semi-whispered vocal is instantly affecting, and that's before the dark narrative takes hold. It's followed by the epic, eight minute "Rude Scenes in the Honda Lot", and it's a slow burning thriller with some of the finest atmospheric and sparse solo guitar I've ever heard. The opening trio of songs is completed by "The Day That I Was Born", a perfect combination of wordplay and chilling strings. Over the next ten tracks he consistently hits similar highs, and if I hear another folk-blues-Americana record that's as good, before the end of the year, I'll be amazed.

Leicester Bangs Review (2013)


"  After a period with no news about him , Canadian singer, guitar player and songwriter  Doug Norquay gives us a new cd with eleven of his own compositions where he develops a personal original style conceived with different musical landscapes which go from rockabilly to folk , neo-blues and alternative rock music .  It is a pity Doug does not have a better and wider means to promote his work , because his talent is undervalued and this man deserves a wider recognition by media and people .  A good record label should take into account Doug's work .  Ethel's Lounge is a good cd that has pleasantly  surprised me .  Very Good . "  -  Vicente Zumel , "La Hora del Blues" , Barcelona , Spain

Doug is an exceptional acoustic, slide guitar player, with a style that takes the delta blues technique to a new level. Usually performing as a solo act, his playing hits with the intensity of a steam train. Lyrically he is closer to Bob Dylan than Howlin' Wolf. There is little of the "Woke up this morning..." in Doug's music. 

"Doug Norquay has arrived on the scene as a potent songwriter with a hypnotic slide guitar style all his own" - Rick Fines, Jackson Delta

Guelph’s Doug Norquay has a new album. Ugly Blues is only on cassette at the moment, but he assures me it will be on CD soon. Doug performs on both acoustic and electric slide guitar(the ‘ugly’ refers to his description of his electric slide sound) this time with “Fred MacDowell”, “The Big Scrapyard” and a couple of other new songs not on his Cadillac Shoes cassette from a number of years back. His rapid fire images(“Bones of John The Baptist”) over repeated slide riffs are a treat to hear and repay return visits.


Doug Norquay - Poisonous Road Snakes SMCD-DN99

Also from Guelph is veteran slide guitarist Doug Norquay. I've written about his cassettes here before and now a CD, Poisonous Road Snakes, is available. Thirteen of his songs are collected, in new acoustic performances for some of the old songs and some new songs as well. His slide playing owes a huge debt to Mississippi Fred MacDowell, credited in song, and his lyrics to a corner of literature I'm not familiar with-titles like "Best Demented Cowgirl Face" & "Bones Of John The Baptist" give you some idea, he calls it "truck-driver-on-acid" lyrical imagery. If you've heard him perform, you know what that means and may well like a sample to take home now that it's on a friendlier medium.


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