Doug Macleod review…August 27, 2017….

DOUG MACLEOD

BREAK THE CHAIN

REFERENCE RECORDINGS   RR-141

GOIN’ DOWN TO THE ROADHOUSE–MR BLOOZEMAN–LONESOME FEELING–TRAVEL ON–LA–THE SIREN IN THE WEST–ONE FOR TAMPA RED–WHAT THE BLUES MEANS TO ME–THIS ROAD I’M WALKING–WHO’S DRIVING THIS BUS–CHURCH STREET SERENADE–GOING HOME–BREAK THE CHAIN

Nobody can tell a tale quite like Doug Macleod.  Whether you are listening to his blues stylings or reading his printed words for publications such as “Living Blues,” you’ll know ol’ Dubb is quick with a quip and the turn of a lyric.  Now, he’s fresh off a win back in May at the Blues Awards in Memphis for Best Acoustic Artist, and his latest set for Reference Recordings keeps that momentum going,

“Break The Chain” features twelve all-original looks at some good-time blues mixed with some cuts geared to make you think.  Along with Doug on guitars and vocals, we have Jimi Bott on drums, Oliver Brown on percussion, Denny Croy on doghouse bass, and Doug’s son, Jesse, adding duet vocals on one fine cut.

The party starts with a juke joint rocker urging you to get that @@@ off the couch and head straight “Down To The Roadhouse, down where the lonely belong.” “Mr. Bloozeman” takes a good-natured look at all us wanna-be’s that couldn’t carry a tune in a #10 bucket, while “One For Tampa Red” is a sweet instrumental Doug plays on his National Style O, affectionately-named “Owl.”

Ol’ Dubb also knows a thing or two about what Blind Willie Johnson was puttin’ down, and he gives us a couple of fine gospel-blues numbers with “Travel On,” and a stirring a cappella version of “Going Home.”  The set closes in a similar tone,  with Doug’s duet with Jesse, where, no matter what’s holding us down, we all have the power to “Break The Chain.”

We had two favorites, too, about as opposite as two songs can be.  “Lonesome Feeling” is one of the darkest shades of blues there is, as Doug sings of the loneliness that overtakes you when “you can’t make right what you did wrong.”  And, Doug rides an “endless boogie” riff for a tongue-in-cheek story about the state of this country today, “Who’s Driving This Bus?– it ain’t one of us!”

Doug Macleod believes, as do many of the old-school bluesmen, that the blues is the truth, and the natural facts of life.  He encourages all of us to keep an open sense of humor as we travel life’s highway, and “Break The Chain” spells it all out for all his fans.  Dubb, we love you!    Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow,  The Nashville Blues Society.

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