Doug MacLeod has been performing the blues for more than 50 years, and Sunday, September 10, he brings his artistry to the Jones House Cultural and Community Center for an afternoon workshop and evening performance.
MacLeod was first exposed to the blues in the St. Louis area as a teenager, and he soon began learning to play country blues songs on the acoustic guitar. He found that playing and singing the blues helped him ease the symptoms of a chronic stutter that he battled and overcame.
MacLeod started seeking out elder blues players to learn, and he attributes his formative instruction to Ernest Banks. “He told me to never play a note you don’t believe, and never sing about what you don’t know,” MacLeod recalls. He later formed a strong musical relationship with George “Harmonica” Smith, who became a mentor and inspiration for many of MacLeod’s original songs and stories.
With a strong foundation in acoustic country blues guitar, as well as a strong bass player with jazz and electric blues, MacLeod found work as a sideman with lots of artists, including Big Joe Turner, Pee Wee Crayton, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Lowell Fulson, and Big Mama Thornton.
MacLeod also developed a strong singing and writing voice. Over the years, he has written more than 300 songs, and he performs his own material almost exclusively. He has recorded his songs and published 21 studio albums, in addition to other live releases and compilations. Others have taken note of his writing skills, and his songs have been covered by many artists, including Albert King, Albert Collins, Son Seals, Papa John Creach, Joe Louis Walker, and Eva Cassidy.
From 1999 to 2004, MacLeod hosted Nothin’ But the Blues, a very popular weekend blues show on Los Angeles’s KLON-KKJZ. He also wrote the “Doug’s Back Porch” column in Blues Review Magazine for a decade, sharing stories from the road and studios.
MacLeod has garnered the recognition from his peers, being awarded the Blues Music Awards Acoustic Artist of the Year in 2014, 2016, and 2017. These awards, formerly known as the W.C. Handy Awards, are recognized as the highest accolade given to blues music.
MacLeod’s performances are known for including his masterful guitar playing, soulful voice, and engaging storytelling that all comes right from the heart.
“Doug MacLeod is an acoustic roots master,” says Elwood Blues aka Dan Aykroyd. “He has been using guitars and voice to create his own unique musical vision for over fifty years.”
MacLeod will bring that vision to the Jones House on Sept 10, 2017, for an afternoon workshop and evening concert. The afternoon workshop on acoustic blues guitar will begin at 4:00 p.m. in the Mazie Jones Gallery of the Jones House. The workshop is open to the public and is free for those attending the evening concert. For more information on the workshop, please contact Mark Freed at [email protected] or 828.268.6282.
MacLeod will give an evening performance on Sept 10, 2017, starting at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for the concert are $20 per person. The venue can seat 40 people, and due to the limited seating, advanced reservations are recommended. All open seats will be available at the door, which opens at 7:00 p.m. on the night of the concert.