For singer/songwriter Lucas Chaisson, turning 18 hopefully means his Doogie Howser days are done.
Like the teenage doctor in the Doogie Howser M.D. TV series, the young Cochrane musician found that being praised as a prodigy has its down side.
“The whole age thing was getting over-hyped. I’m glad to be an adult because I’d rather be known as a songwriter than a kid songwriter,” said Chaisson, who performs on Sunday night with fellow songwriters Rob Heath and Marty Pawlina at Red Deer’s Church of Christ in Davenport.
“Being a 16-year-old musician might get you some high-profile shows, but you don’t get taken very seriously by people,” he added.
And Chaisson is very serious about his music. He started learning the guitar at age 5, along with his dad, then spent his early teenage years jamming and occasionally performing with his father’s band.
By age 16, Chaisson was doing solo gigs — and generally blowing audiences away with the complex maturity of his guitar riffs and lyrics.
Quirky tunes such as Falling’s What We Do captured the powerless, heady feeling of falling in love before Chaisson even had a steady girlfriend.
That life experience-gap has filled in since — the young guitarist revealed that he recently ended a two-year relationship. “I’ve definitely matured,” he said, in the two years between his first album No Loitering, which was nominated 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award, and his latest release, Growing Pains.
The title track to the CD released in June poetically recounts the sometimes difficult journey to adulthood.
“It’s meaningful to me . . . As I get older, I have more things to write about and I can put more personal stuff in songs,” said Chaisson, who sometimes starts a new song from a lyrical idea, and at other times, begins by strumming a catchy guitar tune.
He revealed that his favourite new lyric is from his song A Means to an End, off Growing Pains. Chaisson heard of an old lady who put all of her savings into socks and buried them in her backyard. He was inspired to write “It’s all just love, tied up in socks . . . ”
While he can now legally play in bars, the performer believes that’s not really a milestone.
“I could grow a lot of facial hair at a young age, and no one asked me for my ID when I was walking in with a guitar case,” he said, with a chuckle.
Chaisson prefers an environment in which audience members are there to listen to his music, so looks forward to performing at the songwriter’s circle in Red Deer.
His fellow songwriters, Heath and Pawlina, are also known for their reflective tunes and rich melodies.
Heath has written music for Glen Campbell, Don Goodman and Criterion/Atlantic Music (the publisher for Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash and Lyle Lovett).
Pawlina writes blues roots music and is the lead singer/guitarist for the group Eleventh Curren.
Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show are $10 at the door.