Doug MacLeod (8)
25 April 2014
FRIDAY 25th April 2014
Master of Original Acoustic Blues
Doug MacLeod, the perennial Blues Music Award Nominee, is a singer-songwriter in the American tradition. He is a traveling artist that writes and sings original songs that are based on his own life and experiences. He learned from the old masters, lived the music, survived the life and carries forward a valuable tradition. MacLeod is known for his superb song writing, guitar wizardry, warm soulful vocals, wit and unforgettable live performances. At the heart of this is his knack for storytelling, bringing characters-from the faceless to the legendary-to strikingly real life.
As a youth he overcame abuse and a crippling stutter by turning to music. After he picked up a guitar, and tried to sing - he found his voice.
While he developed his rich, soulful singing style MacLeod also worked out a unique, unorthodox and powerfully rhythmic acoustic guitar style. The rage of his turbulent youth was eventually channelled through his guitar, using his relentless right hand to pound out an insistent, churning beat to complement his intricate bottleneck and finger-style technique.
MacLeod's playing landed him sideman gigs with George 'Harmonica' Smith, Big Joe Turner, Pee Wee Crayton, Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson, Lowell Fulson and Big Mama Thornton. Under their tutelage, he learned how to thrill and enrapture a crowd.
Over 29 years, 19 studio albums, several live records, compilations, a blues guitar instructional DVD and a live performance DVD, MacLeod has consistently earned raves. His songs have been covered by many artists including Albert King, Albert Collins, Joe Louis Walker and Eva Cassidy. He has co-written songs with Dave Alvin and Coco Montoya.
MacLeod's songs have been featured in many TV movies and the hit show In the Heat of the Night. Two of his songs are on Grammy nominated albums by Albert King and Albert Collins.
From 1999 to 2004 he hosted Nothin' But The Blues, a very popular weekend blues 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 ten years he penned "Doug's Back Porch," a regular feature column in Blues Revue Magazine in which he shared his humorous and insightful stories with thousands of readers. He won the Golden Note Award in 1997 for his Audio Quest album "You Can't Take My Blues". In 2006 Solid Air/Warner Bros. released Doug's guitar instructional DVD "101* Blues Guitar Essentials".
MacLeod signed with Reference Recordings in 2012. His new album "There’s A Time" was released in March of 2013. In every note he performs and records, MacLeod subscribes to the rule-of-thumb learned from country bluesman Ernest Banks from Toano VA who instilled in him to "Never play a note you don't believe", and "Never write or sing about what you don't know about."
Like the old masters who taught him, MacLeod's music expresses life and times via an intangible, elusive quality that may simply be a keen sense of what matters most. There is a philosophic and healing side to MacLeod's music and his stories that have helped others overcome the hardships of their lives.
As Pee Wee Crayton's widow Esther once told Doug, "You have a message and you'll send that message mainly to the people who don't go to church." Amen.
10 May 2014
The Village Hall
Saturday 10th May 2014
Guy Davis – singer, songwriter, guitarist, banjo player, raconteur, actor and director.
Guy Davis was born (12th May 1952) and raised in New York. His parents Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee were actors of note and Guy at an early age was interested in following in the family mould. His acting career began in the 1984 film Beat Street opposite Rae Dawn Chong and on television as Dr. Josh Hall on One Life to Live.
His grandmother inspired his interest in blues music and in 1978 he recorded his first album “Dreams About Life” for Folkways Records wherein he sings on side two of my cassette “Never Fart In Front Of Company” which he probably now would wish to have deleted! Since then has recorded fourteen albums the last being in 2013 “Juba Dance”.
An interesting man whose music I have collected from the start and have always found enough stimulating material to urge me on to buy the next CD.
I look forward to seeing him in the flesh.
p.s. I have just noticed that Guy had to wait thirteen years before his next album was released - wonder if it had anything to do with "that track" on side two of his first album.
Earl Thomas & The Royal Guard
4 July 2014
EARL THOMAS & THE ROYAL GUARD
The Village Hall
FRIDAY 4th July 2014
Earl Thomas was born in Pikeville, Tennessee in the early 60’s and started his career with the release of ‘Blue Not Blues” in 1991. Alongside his singing career he is also a decent songsmith and his music has been featured in films, television and covered by Shemekia Copeland, Solomon Burke, Etta James, and even dare I say it Sir Tom Jones.
Growing up he heard the blues from his father and grandfather and Church music from his mother who was a Gospel singer. His father was a Naval officer who sang and played the guitar and harmonica; whilst his grandfather was the official fiddle player for the Governor of Tennessee State Square Dances throughout the 40’s. He was raised with a wealth of music, blues, R&B, Gospel and soul. However, he like many others came to prefer the English bands like The Stones, The Beatles, Rod Stewart, Hendrix and all. In 1983 he enrolled in Humboldt State University where he was trained in classical voice. Settling in as music major with an eye towards teaching, one of his graduation requirements was the completion of a project relevant to the course of study. As a joke Thomas and fellow student Philip C Wootton approached the department with a proposal to do something out of the box. They asked if they could create a record album from scratch and then follow through with the necessary promotion. The boys fully expected the idea to be rejected but to their surprise it was accepted. They launched into the project using a book that they loaned form the school library entitled “How To Make and Sell Your Own Recording” by Diana Sward Rappaport It was a complete guidebook from inception to completion on how to make a professional record. They wrote the songs, hired the band, produced and recorded the music and as called for in the proposal, upon completion, an LP entitled “I Sing The Blues” was delivered to their professors and unbeknownst to either Thomas or Wootton a career was born. The book also called for promo copies to be sent to music magazines and newspapers. One of the promo copies landed on the desk of veteran music impresario and artist manager Herb Cohen who along with the late Frank Zappa signed Thomas to his first recording contract. The album remixed and including three additional songs was entitled “Blue Not Blues” and was released in April 1991. A nice little tale.
In 2013 Earl toured Columbia, South America, Poland, Spain and Lugano Switzerland for the Bop Festival. Earl is now one of a few artists in the world who can carry a relatively large band of professional musicians and at the same time is able to decide which gigs he wishes to play.
We in Shakedown Blues are proud to be one of three gigs that his latest tour consists of.
Leo Bud Welch
30 August 2014
The Village Hall
SATURDAY 30th August 2014
Biography By Joel McNeece
Leo “Bud” Welch has been playing music ever since picking up his first guitar at age 12.
“I love all types of music – country, gospel, rock and of course the blues,” Welch said sitting in his one-room home near the Piggly Wiggly in Bruce. During his more than 60 years of playing, Welch has sat in with blues legends John Lee Hooker, Elmore James and B.B. King. “I always admired B.B. and the way he plays his guitar,” Welch said. “I love the way he chords the strings”.
Welch never tried to emulate any of the blues legends he admired, instead relying on his own self-taught method. “I just play like I play,” Welch said. “I’m not trying to be anybody else.”
Born in Sabougla, Welch taught himself to play on his cousin R.C. Welch’s guitar. “Whenever he would leave, me and his brother Orlando would go over and get his guitar and take turns playing,” Welch said.
The earliest songs he recalled playing were “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Navajo Trail.”
“I remember seeing Roy Rogers playing ‘Navajo Trail’ in a movie so I started playing around with it,” he said.
His first time on stage was for programs at Sabougla Grammar School, but he was truly noticed during a school performance in Pittsboro. “We were playing up there when those people started going wild over the little boy playing guitar,” Welch said. “They were pointing at me and just going wild.”
He fell in love with the blues at a young age and began playing wherever he could, such as Otis McCain’s 3-day picnic in the Horsepen Community. He played around Grenada and landed a regular appearance on WNAG radio with Alfred Harris and the Joy Jumpers. Other places he recalled performing were the Cotton Bowl and The Blue Flame in Carroll County.
He moved to Bruce as a teen and played frequently around the local cafes where people would provide him change. “People would drop nickels, dimes and quarters in my pockets and even in the hole in my guitar,” Welch said. “I’d get home and have to shake all the money out of my guitar.”
He would play in a number of bands over the years including “The Rising Soul Band” with Rev. Tommie Daniel of Bruce; “The Spirituals” with Raymond “Slick” Tillman, Grady Gladney, James Foster and others; and the “Sabougla Voices” with Zoila and Betty Tucker, Marty Conley and Lovie Lipsey. Welch continues to play most every Sunday in a church somewhere. He most often plays at his home church in Sabougla on the first and third Sundays of each month and at Double Springs in Webster County on the other Sundays.
He also hosts a show on W07BN each week entitled “Black Gospel Express.”
At 81 years old, Welch continues to play as much as ever traveling deep into the Mississippi Delta weekly to play at clubs such as Ground Zero, Hambone’s and Reds. “I still love playing the blues, and there’s a lot of people interested in the blues now that didn’t used to be,” Welch said. “Lot of the times I play there’s a lot more white people in the audience than black people.”
Welch can also play the harmonica and fiddle, but prefers the sound of his electric guitar for a few reasons. One is because it’s easier for him to hear after suffering some hearing loss from 30 years of cutting timber.
He has written a number of songs over the years as well. Some of those are part of a new gospel CD he has coming out in January that he recorded with Big Legal Mess records out of Oxford. A release date celebration is planned for January in Pittsboro.
“I’m real pleased with the album,” Welch said. “I thought it turned out good. I’m going to work on a blues record next.”
“I love gospel but I really enjoy playing those old blues songs, too,” he said. “People still love them. The blues are just a history of life. They make people feel good.”
Cherry Lee Mewis
18 October 2014
The Village Hall
Saturday 18th October 2014