Reference Recordings Signs Blues/Roots
Singer-Songwriter Doug MacLeod
Label Debut Album, There’s a Time,
Set for Release March 12
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Reference Recordings announces the signing of blues/roots singer-songwriter Doug MacLeod, and a March 12 release date for his label debut album, There’s a Time. Produced by Doug MacLeod and Janice Mancuso and recorded at Skywalker Sound, the “baker’s dozen” tracks on There’s a Time showcase his soulful vocals and trademark guitar sound backed by Denny Croy on bass and Jimi Bott on drums. Acclaimed for their quality audio recordings, Reference will also release the new album on a 200-gram vinyl two-LP set, half-speed mastered and pressed at Quality Record Pressings (QRP), as well as on CD.
“Making this album was different than any other one I’ve done in the past,” recalls MacLeod about the sessions. “They put Jimi, Denny and me on this huge soundstage at Skywalker Sound in Marin County and we sat around in a circle where we could see each other. We played live, no overdubs, just three guys playing some music together.
“Simply put, Jimi and Denny are two of the finest musicians I have ever had the pleasure to make music with. I’ve been known to change arrangements on the spot: add a bar here, take away a bar there. I go with the feeling of the moment. Both Jimi and Denny have this uncanny ability to follow that - even under what could have been pressure circumstances for other musicians.”
A perennial Blues Music Award nominee, MacLeod is currently nominated for “Acoustic Artist of the Year.” Doug is a throwback musician in the great tradition of the traveling bluesman from the genre’s classic era, having apprenticed with some of the best as a sideman with such legends as Big Joe Turner, Pee Wee Crayton, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Big Mama Thornton and George “Harmonica” Smith. During that time, he developed his unique, unorthodox and powerfully rhythmic acoustic guitar style, which he puts to great use on There’s a Time playing on a variety of guitars with such pet names as “Moon” (a National M-1 Tricone), “Little Bit” (a Gibson C-100 FE) and “Owl” (a National Style “O”), plus a National El Trovador 12-String.
The other element of Doug’s style is his remarkable ability as a storyteller, another trademark of the classic itinerant blues musician. Listening to the songs on There’s a Time is like attending a master class on storytelling, as MacLeod weaves tales that are visceral, insightful and often humorous (as on the songs, “My In-laws Are Outlaws,” “St Elmo’s Rooms and Pool” and “Dubb’s Talkin’ Religion Blues”).
Like the old masters who taught him, MacLeod’s songs are based primarily on his own life and experiences, instilled with the spirit one particular influential bluesman once told him: “Never play a note you don’t believe, and never write or sing about what you don’t know.”
“If you’re speaking honestly, then I believe you’re coming from your heart,” MacLeod says. “And if you’re coming from the heart, then I believe your chances of getting to another heart are real good. If you can get to the heart, then you can get to the soul, and I think that’s where songs like to live.”
In a career that spans over 30 years, Doug MacLeod has recorded 19 studio albums, several live records, compilations, a blues guitar instructional DVD and a live performance DVD. His songs have been covered by such artists as Albert King, Albert Collins, Joe Louis Walker and Eva Cassidy. Two of his songs were on Grammy-nominated albums by King and Collins. He’s co-written tunes with Dave Alvin and Coco Montoya, and his songs have been featured in many TV movies, as well as the hit TV series, “In the Heat of the Night.”
From 1999 to 2004, Doug hosted “Nothin’ but the Blues,” a very popular weekend blues radio show on Los Angeles’ KLON-KKJZ. He has also been the voice for “The Blues Showcase” on Continental Airlines and contributed his soulful slide guitar playing to the Los Angeles opening of the August Wilson play, “Gem of the Ocean.” For 10 years, he penned “Doug’s Back Porch,” a regular feature column in Blues Revue, in which he shared his humorous and insightful stories with the magazine’s readers. In 1997, he won the Golden Note Award for his Audioquest Music album, You Can’t Take My Blues; and in 2006 Solid Air/Warner Bros. released Doug’s guitar instructional DVD, 101 Blues Guitar Essentials.