April 21, 1946 |
New York, United States
Doug MacLeod (born April 21, 1946, New York City, United States) is an American storytelling bluesman. Although now associated with his home in Los Angeles, he has lived and worked in North Carolina, St. Louis, Port Washington, New York, and Norfolk, Virginia, where he was stationed in the United States Navy. He became acquainted with the blues in St Louis in his teens and started his career playing country blues on acoustic guitar, finding that singing eased a chronic stutter and helped him to eventually overcome it. Although predominantly associated with acoustic guitar, his skills were developed as a blues bass player, and honed by his subsequent journeys into jazz and electric blues.
MacLeod's formative blues instruction is attributed to a man he knew as Ernest Banks who also gave him the guiding principles of his music and performances:
"Never play a note you don't believe"
"Never write or sing about what you don't know about"
He also formed a strong friendship with George "Harmonica" Smith who not only became his mentor, but also the source or experience for many of his songs and stories in his live performances. Unable or unwilling to use his correct name, George always called him "Dubb", a name also adopted by his loyal followers, the DubbHeads.
MacLeod plays only his own compositions (of which he is credited with over 300), but his music has also been recorded by many other artists, including Dave Alvin, James Armstrong, Eva Cassidy, Albert Collins, Pee Wee Crayton, Papa John Creach, Albert King, Chris Thomas King, Coco Montoya, Billy Lee Riley, Son Seals, Tabby Thomas, and Joe Louis Walker.
He has also been a long-time contributor to Blues Revue magazine with his column "Doug's Back Porch".
MacLeod's live performances preserve the tradition of the blues as a story-telling medium, expressed by his soulful voice and powerfully rhythmic acoustic guitar style. He usually plays a National Delphi guitar (accompanied by his left foot), with stories or introductions between pieces. The tales come from his early performances when he felt that he did not have enough music to fill a show. He has appeared in blues and jazz festivals and his own shows around the world, but particularly in the US and Europe.
As well as writing and performing, he also teaches guitar and has released his own instructional DVD, and has hosted blues radio shows Blues Highway and Nothin' but the Blues (1999 to 2004), and was the voice for the Blues Showcase of Continental Airlines.
He has won four Blues Music Awards (formerly W.C. Handy):
He has been nominated for several consecutive years for:
His portrait is displayed in the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He received the Golden Note award for Best Original Recording (for his album You Can't Take My Blues). His songs have featured in Grammy Award-nominated albums: Albert King's I'm in a Phone Booth, Baby (1984) ("Your Bread Ain't Done"), and Albert Collins' Cold Snap (1986) ("Cash Talking, The Working Man's Blues").