The former Soul Coughing frontman climbs onboard the tour bus for an adventure featuring not only his music but his new book as well.
Mike Doughty’s new memoir – “The Book Of Drugs” – describes his eight years helming Soul Coughing as well as his heroin addiction and recovery. Each night Doughty plans to perform his music, read excerpts from the book and even take a few questions from the audience in what could be one of the more unique tours of the year.
The shows begin with in Charlotte, N.C., at The Muse Feb. 3. Other stops include Atlanta at Eddie’s Attic Feb. 4; Orlando, Fla., at The Social Feb. 7; New Orleans at The Parish at House Of Blues Feb. 11; Nashville’s 3rd & Lindsley Feb. 17; Ann Arbor, Mich., at The Ark Feb. 21; Toronto’s Drake Hotel / Underground Feb. 23; and Albany, N.Y., at The Linda – WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio.
Doughty also has a few book store events scattered through his tour routing – New York City’s Barnes & Noble Tribeca Feb. 2; Savannah, Ga., at The Book Lady Bookstore Feb. 6; Tampa, Fla, at Inkwood Books Feb. 8; Cleveland at Mac’s Backs Feb. 22; and Buffalo, N.Y., at Talking Leaves Feb. 24.
Early last year, Mike Doughty released Golden Delicious, which meshed his solo career with some of the beats of his Soul Coughing days. However, the overall effect didn’t really make for a coherent listening experience. Coming back with Sad Man Happy Man, Doughty goes back to basics and makes his most stripped down record in years. Hearkening back to his first solo album; the self-released Skittish; much of Sad Man Happy Man focuses on Doughty’s voice and acoustic guitar, with some bass and cello flourishes from his cohort Scrap Livingston. However, it is far from just another acoustic, singer-songwriter record.
Opening with “Nectarine (Part Two),” a sequel to “Nectarine (Part One)” from Golden Delicious, it sets the tone for Sad Man Happy Man, keeping Doughty’s distinctive voice and guitar style front and center. “Lorna Zauberberg” sticks out from its use of some sampled, chopped-up chatter, but there is very little in the way of extra sounds and production at all here. “Pleasure On Credit” is closest Doughty gets to his classic Soul Coughing free-form ‘slacker jazz’ rap-style (with the great couplet “John Paul Jones/bustle in the hedges”). The “happy man” part of the equation is represented by songs like “(I Keep On) Rising Up” and the raucous “Lord Lord Help Me Just To Rock Rock On.” In the end though, this is Mike Doughty doing what he does best: catchy songs with repetitive choruses and off-kilter wordplay that bore into your brain. You’ll have two chances this fall to catch Doughty’s always-enjoyable live show in the area: October 30 at the Sellersville Theater and November 27 at World Café Live.