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Norfolk musician's new hope after rare muscle disorder

PUBLISHED: 14:00 08 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:00 02 July 2010

The Doggett Brothers at home in Gorleston.

The Doggett Brothers at home in Gorleston.

Rob Garratt

Six years ago musician Greg Doggett thought he would never play the guitar again after being struck by a rare muscle disorder.

Six years ago musician Greg Doggett thought he would never play the guitar again after being struck by a rare muscle disorder.

The keen musician was forced to drop out of his prestigious music degree course and was faced with the prospect of never sharing music with his brother Carl, a drummer, again.

But now the brothers' music is being heard by thousands on radio stations across the country, thanks to computer technology that has allowed Greg to pen his first tunes in years.

In their teens the brothers performed in jazz and funk bands together, before Greg impressed lecturers at an audition to secure a place on an esteemed jazz degree at Leeds College of Music.

But in his first year of study Greg's future in music was struck by a sudden disaster. The 26-year-old, who works in PR, said: “I woke up one morning and went to pick up my guitar, like I did everyday - and I couldn't. I'd lost all coordination in my right hand.

“It was a musician's worst nightmare, I was totally broken hearted. It brought everything to an abrupt halt. I was devastated.”

Greg was diagnosed with rare muscle disorder Focal Dystonia. He struggled on, finally dropping out of his degree course after two years' study with just a diploma, and gave up music for good around six years ago.

However, around 18 months ago Greg's mind began overflowing with musical ideas and he turned to his laptop to start composing again. Last summer he and his brother went Leeders Farm, a recording studio near Wymondham owned by ex-Darkness guitarist Dan Hawkins, to lay down Greg's tunes.

Greg added: “I had ideas that I couldn't get out of my head; ideas that kept me up at night and I had to find a way to get them out. For the first time in years my brother and I started sitting down together and it went from there.”

The brothers, who live together in Gorleston's Cliff Avenue, were joined in the studio by a raft of top local players, including Keyboardist Matt Hodges, bassist Tom Hannah and producer Owen Morgan.

In the last week, the result - The Doggett's Brothers' jazz-funk tune The Azure Sky - has taken off, with airplay on specialist radio stations. Greg has also signed a deal that will see the song featured on a complication, Soul Unsigned Vol. 4 - and there is talk of a deal for a whole album in pipeline.

“It's been a long road for us,” says Greg. “There's been a lot of blood, sweat and tears over the last few years.”

To hear The Doggett Brothers go to www.myspace.com/carldoggett

Have you overcome adversity to achieve your dream? Call Evening News reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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