Michael C. Duguay

“In many ways, Michael C. Duguay fits more comfortably in the great tradition of Canadian literature than Canadian rock and roll. As a writer, his elegant wordplay, thoughtfully annotated and cleverly obscured references, and deeply confessional style of poetic storytelling, give Duguay more in common with, say, Alice Munro or Timothy Findley as anyone in contemporary music. With his arresting personal history and lived experience of hardship and conquest over adversity, he has much in common with the literary characters of those writer’s work. Which is to say that Michael C. Duguay is not 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 proccures him an anomalous place in the lineage of great Canadian writers; a punk rock poet whose mercurial work and performances are equal parts adroit pop and avant-garde, an idiosyncratic writer, a devoted collaborator, and a captivating figure.”

Once a sought-after multi-instrumental accompanist, Michael C. Duguay first surfaced in the Canadian music landscape as a collaborative member of a number of critically acclaimed projects, performing on breakthrough albums by artists including Evening Hymns, The Burning Hell, and Weird Lines. While touring the world as a backing musician, Michael was covertly recognized in the Canadian music community as an enigmatic personality, fervent community organizer, 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 and his penchant for thrilling compositions and arrangements, entrenched in stalwart punk rock ethos and energy.

Considered amongst his friends and collaborators to be a captivating 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 unraveled. Following a move to Sackville, New Brunswick, Duguay suffered a series of mental breakdowns, resulting in institutionalization, addiction, and, ultimately, homelessness. From 2013 to 2018, he disappeared from the Canadian music scene completely.

Resurfacing near Kingston, Ontario in 2018, where sustained and determined efforts from his friends, bandmates, and family contributed to a return to health and stability, Duguay set out to record his second album collaboratively with a revolving community of friends, musicians, artists, and engineers. The result, The Winter of our Discotheque, serves a collection of songs that offer a sobering insight into the mind of a truly unique artist obsessed with the meticulous craft of honest songwriting, with storytelling rooted in genuine grit and hard-earned mettle.