Stereophile Recording of the Month, May 2013!
Mastered by Prof. Keith Johnson!
13 MacLeod Originals Showcase Soulful Vocals & Trademark Guitar Sound - Backed by Bassist Denny Croy and Drummer Jimi Bott!
'Prof.' Keith Johnson's First Blues Recording! 13 new MacLeod originals highlight this richly detailed recording, done at Skywalker Sound in Marin County, CA. by Reference Recording's Grammy® winning engineer.
Produced by Doug MacLeod and Janice Mancuso the 13 tracks on "There's A Time" showcase his soulful vocals and trademark guitar sound backed by Denny Croy on bass and Jimi Bott, one of the most recorded, awarded and respected blues drummers in the world.
Doug says: "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 has been nominated for Acoustic Artist of the Year. (Drummer Jimi Bott is also a BMA nominee).
Doug is a throwback musicians 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.
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".
In a career that spans over 30 years, Doug's 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".
"It's simple music, performed with love...What a performance it is too, haunting and powerful, with dynamics that emphasize the drama in the stories of the songs. Its unrushed, unhurried nature lets it sit like a warm blanket wrapping you in the imagery it calls to mind...The songs are not hidden, the playing is not either and everyone is on top form, something special is going on here and as a listener you feel part of the magic...Part of the magic is down to the quality of the sound...the sound has real presence and a sense of space, it has punch and power aplenty...This is as near to a faultless disc as I have heard in a long time. From Doug’s high-toned voice that calls to mind Robert Johnson, to the choice of the right instrument for the song, to the attention to detail in the recording, every care has been taken to make sure that this is the best album it could be. It’s alive, honest and moving and as a blues fan I can ask for nothing more." - Ian McHugh, UKjazzradio.com host
"His original music, which is what he's documented in the 12 tracks of this warm, alive, natural, very well-recorded 24-bit HDCD collection...works in wise and pleasurable ways...Though he's probably best known as a canny, nimble acoustic blues guitarist, MacLeod's voice, with its prominent crying tone and agile phrasing, is the equal of his string jiggering...his singing is every bit as artistic as his instrumental prowess...MacLeod's art is a quiet, mostly solo-led pursuit of finely detailed song-stories, impeccable playing, impassioned singing, and his engaging personality shines forth in a live setting. It all makes for a very enjoyable if very traditional experience." - Robert Baird, Stereophile Magazine, Recording of the Month, May 2013, Performance 4.5/5, Sonics 4.5/5
"There's A Time is his moment. Recorded live with no overdubs at George Lucas' Skywalker Sound, this intimate audiophile quality recording (with bassist Denny Croy and drummer Jim Bott) is a mostly laidback affair that finds MacLeod imparting a timeless quality to a baker's dozen originals. His expressive vocals are almost Skip James wistful. On guitar, he strums and slides through an apocrypha of alternative tunings played on a rich cache of classic six- and twelve-string acoustics. This master storyteller has a knack for exploring the space between the notes, delivering quiet, thoughtful asides and blues sermons, sometimes saturated in Jack and Coke or steeped in the swampy mysticism of the Delta blues tradition. Fans of John Hammond Jr., Chris Thomas King, and Eric Bibb take note." - Greg Cahill, The Absolute Sound, May/June 2013, Music 4/5, Sonics, 4.5/5
• Mastered by Prof. Keith O. Johnson
Doug MacLeod, guitar, vocals
Denny Croy, bass
Jimi Bott, drums
1. Rosa Lee
2. Black Nights
3. The Up Song
4. My Inlaws Are Outlaws
5. The Entitled Few
6. A Ticket Out
7. Run With The Devil
8. St. Elmo's Rooms and Pool
9. I'll Be Walking On
10. East Carolina Woman
11. The Night of The Devil's Road
12. Dubb's Talking Religion Blues