“A force on the Canadian blues scene, and one of the long time spark plugs of the interior’s roots music scene.”
Sherman “Tank” Doucette grew up surrounded by music. Born and raised in North Battleford, SK, he recalls the sounds of his Dad on guitar or banjo, his brother on guitar, his Mom, sisters and aunts dancing and singing along, and his grandfather jiggin’ on the harmonica.
“My grandpa played harmonic and fiddle. He played French jigs, where they dance with their feet, and even though they’re sitting down they’re Jiggin’. He had such good rhythm; I’d sit on his lap and he’d keep time with his feet. And the rhythm went right through me.”
Sherman inherited his grandfather’s harps, and in the summer of 1969 he and his pal hitchhiked to Vancouver, where he played whenever and wherever he could, setting the course for his music career. It was there he saw John Lee Hooker, Jim Byrnes and other greats, cementing his resolve to become a professional musician. Years later, he would play with Hooker on five different occasions, which he still considers the highlight of his career.
In 1977, life took a dramatic change when he was the victim of an explosion. He was in a coma for two months and when he awoke, it was in a hospital in Vancouver. He learned he’d suffered third degree burns to 50% of his body. He spent another four months in hospital healing and relearning how to walk. It was his survival of such serious accident and his determination to overcome, that he earned the nickname, Sherman “Tank.”
Released from the hospital at 23 years of age, his friends encouraged him to sit in and began hiring him. This inspired him to return to his music career. Since that time he’s become a beloved figure in Canadian blues, and has shared the stage with such legends as John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Long John Baldry, Powder Blues Band, Pinetop Perkins, Jim Byrnes, James Cotton, Gordie Johnson, John Primer and more.
Settling in interior BC, Sherman formed the Tankful of Blues, known for their upbeat music the group a staple on the local scene. He also does studio work, for ads such as McDonalds and Grower’s Cider.
Sherman has released two solo albums, Blowin’ Through Town” and “Harp and Soul.”
When Sherman’s not performing, he’s collecting. He’s amassed a large number of antique harmonicas, including a bass harmonica made in 1910. He’s created the Harptown Harmonica Museum. Seven hundred diatonic, chromatics, crank and “weird shape” harmonics later, along with vintage cases and displays, the Harptown Harmonica Museum houses a rare and valuable collection. “I’ve got bass chord harps; ones with trumpets sticking out the back, bells on them… They did everything with harmonicas to try to sell them to people. Most of them I don’t play because I’m not sure where they came from. It’s kind of like buying somebody’s toothbrush. Brass and water don’t mix. You can boil it, but the reeds will pop out and everything will fall apart. I’m more into pre-war harmonicas because they are over 150 years old now. That’s longer than electric guitars.”
Through his storied career, Sherman Doucette has shared the stage with blues legends such as John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Long John Baldry, Powder Blues Band, Pinetop Perkins, Jim Byrnes, James Cotton, Gordie Johnson, John Primer and more.