Devil Or Angel - Lou Doillon

from the album Places (2013)

I was once good friends with a drummer from Michigan.  She is the most talented drummer that I have ever known and has gone on to tour with national acts that are household names.  She may very well be coming to a large venue in your city this summer.

Over the years, we had many conversations about music.  I was always struck by the joy on her face when she discussed her childhood, jamming with the family.  Her dad played guitar, her mother sang, her cousin played piano and bass, and her uncle played the drums.  As a young girl, she sat on her uncle's lap while he played.  She would ultimately have her own drum kit.

Family life centered on music.  When they were not playing it, they were listening to it.  Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, and especially Johnny Cash were standard fare.  Both her genetics and the environment she grew up in made her the performer she is today.  I am envious of both.

Lou Doillon is another musician who grew up in a musical family.  This French vocalist is the daughter of singer Jane Birken and the half sister of Charlotte Gainsbourgh.  Her step brother is Lulu Gainsbourgh.  Good genes all around.

I have been digging her new song Devil Or Angel over the past month.  Her voice has a stylistic quality that makes each line stand on its own, while providing subtle references to past singers and songs in each nuance of her tone and phrasing.  Yet somehow she maintains her originality throughout the process.  Rare.

The thing that really grabs me in this song is when the first chorus hits and she sing the line "Honey, you're so quick to slip from praise to slander" I catch a whiff of Joni Mitchell that I quite enjoy (and I have never been one to walk around singing Big Yellow Taxi).

But it extends further, into every element of the song.  The way that the guitar and piano lines interplay, the subtle background horns, the drumming, and so much more.  I suppose it is the result of growing up in a world of music and learning the thousands of little lessons that one day lead to greatness.

This record is another step along that road for Lou Doillon.

Click Here to watch Devil Or Angel performed live.  I dig the way she seems so relaxed on stage.

Click Here for an acoustic version of Devil Or Angel coupled with a cover of Should I Stay Or Should I Go by the Clash.