Doc MacLean

Doc MacLean

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN
SoloBluesAmericana

Doc is a weathered, wily, but infinitely likeable storyteller/performer. Writing from the dark side of the blues highway, Doc's distinctive vocals and bare fingers National guitar plot an intense, emotional remapping of contemporary Delta and roots music.

Band Press

National Steel Blues Emergency Tour at Centre 64 – Wilson Review

Saturday night’s performance was a skillful weaving of songs, humor and stories into a spell binding traditional tapestry... The tools of the trade were some pretty old guitars (an old old Stella and a National Steel), blues harp, and washboard. Doc’s slide of choice was a 11/16 inch Mastercraft Socket Wrench... It was an excellent show and it had what I always appreciate in a performance, music that had room to breathe. (– Ron Wilson, 29 October 2012)

(Concert Review) Doc MacLean: One Man, Two Guitars, and a Whole Lotta Mojo – No Depression

For one night, the doctor was in the house, and, though there were only a handful of barflies to take in Doc MacLean's mojo, those who did left the Dakota Tavern with a musical remedy that traveled deep down to their souls... For more than 30 years, MacLean has spread the Delta-Blues gospel. He carries this musical tradition from town to town and summons the ghosts of Son House, Muddy Waters, and Blind Willie McTell. His long grey goatee, matching ponytail, and all-knowing eyes symbolize this journey.

Through his songs and his stories, attendees journeyed to a time before the cassette tape, a time before the eight-track. A time, if you will, even older than vinyl. The final destination: the heart of the Delta and the small town of Hollandale, Miss. For one night, the bluesman made you feel like you were there - standing on a street corner back in some Depression-era sleepy town south of the border, listening to one guy and his two guitars. This traveling musician, who keeps the blues alive, deserves a wider audience.
– David McPherson, No Depression, 7 March 2013

Veteran Blues Singer Visits – Kelvington Times

He asked for a straight-backed wooden chair, placed two guitar cases on the choir pews, and pulled out a six-string acoustic and a six- string resonator guitar fashioned from nickel-plated steel. With no microphone, no light show and no backup, the stripped-down visual alone set serious blues fans on the edges of their seats. Spiced with blues biography and youthful reminiscence, wrapped in gritty guitar licks and chords, MacLean’s full-voiced
lyrics evoked ghosts dancing around a slow southern fire...

His storytelling rambles between songs were those of a man unhurried by the pressures of the next soldout concert or the corporate expectations of the greedy few. After shaking hands with concert-goers as they left, MacLean packed up his guitars and headed down the blues highway, into the night.
– Susan Lowndes, Kelvington Times, 28 October 2013

Get on Board – Toronto Blues Society

Part of longtime friend and producer Colin Linden's genius is accompanying MacLean's National Steel with mandolin, fiddle, bass and percussion to enhance these uncompromising performances. When MacLean sings about living the blues he knows what he's singing about... Larry Taylor, Stephen Hodges, Fats Kaplin and Michael Pickett are all on board, you should be too. (10/02/2006)
http://www.torontobluessociety.com/0610johnspicks.htm

A Fine Delta Style Blues Album – Manitoba Blues Society

A 10 track, all original album that from beginning to end is absolutely wonderful! (10/2006) www.mbblues.mb.ca

Blues Man Captures the Cool – The Morning Star

Obviously, he resonates with the weird lonesome sound of the old country- that old country being the Mississippi Delta. As it should be, he presents a skipping and shuffling beat and his guitar seems bent on shaky, cool rhythm hooks while his voice projects like a distorted record player...
MacLean deftly captures the cool and realizes how to mysteriously grasp the spooky vibe that eludes many- a quality like channeling... Bring the dark night, rain, whiskey and some friends to enjoy Doc MacLean. (29/10/2006)

Blues Artist Touches Old Roots – Yorkton Enterprise

Doc MacLean will be at the Gallagher Centre as the Trans Canada Blues Tour makes a stop. This is the blues of smokey backrooms, and mourning, and is the base of what the genre is all about... He is a contemporary artist who has remained true to the music he cut his blues teeth on. Narrow House is a CD well worth a listen. (09/2006)

Love Letter to the Dirty Blues – The Manitoban

Narrow House is a love letter to the dirty blues of the southern USA.

Together, producer Colin Linden and Doc MacLean have a long history of playing the blues. Listening to their latest collaborative work (note: MacLean is the primary composer) conjures up images of Mississippi and blues joints built on foundations of toil and hardship...

A fine testament to the blues, a genre that needs to be recognized and revered. Four stars for a blues fan; a cautious three for a blues virgin. 10/18/2006

Art of Darkness – Blues Revue (April/May 2007)

Art of Darkness: Edgy songwriting and rural rhythms from a Delta blues veteran.

MacLean revels in his shadowy National Steel guitar on a set of 10 originals that stroll down the sinister side of the bayou, combining blues, country, and a voodoo vibe into a murky, pungent stew... It's like an audio version of the movie Sin City, a flick that could of used any of these tunes on its soundtrack... MacLean is comparable vocally and musically to John Hammond Jr., But his strongest suit is an evocative, visual style of storytelling that captures your imagination in the same way Tom Waits' older material does. The elements congeal to create an emotive, blues-based album fans of Delta music's darker edge will love.

Blues Artist Touches Old Roots – Yorkton Enterprise

Doc MacLean will be at the Gallagher Centre as the Trans Canada Blues Tour makes a stop. This is the blues of smokey backrooms, and mourning, and is the base of what the genre is all about... He is a contemporary artist who has remained true to the music he cut his blues teeth on. Narrow House is a CD well worth a listen. (09/2006)

Exciting Acoustic Countryblues – Rootstime

An exciting acoustic countryblues which will not quickly become tiresome... a balanced cd of top calibre blues work- there are not many which can rival it this year. MacLean has given the blues a new impetus which will stand the test of time. Someone to watch closely!
(Rootstime, January 2007)

Blues With a Modern Twist – Penguin Eggs

This great-titled release has been a long time coming for one of the hardest-working men in Canadian blues... MacLean forges a moody, minimalist, Delta fog of traditional blues spliced with a modern twist... gutbucket rhythms, simple yet seemless instrumentation... MacLean is obviously a road-seasoned student of the acoustic masters and his thick-thatched arrangements and homegrown lyrics are proof of his authenticity. (Eric Thom, Penguin Eggs, January, 2007)

A Masterpiece of Delta Blues – Buff Blues, CFRC

Doc MacLean's Narrow House is a masterpiece of delta-style blues. The lyrics sound as if they were written 100 years ago and are gut-real. The music is truly moving and inspires you to dance, or just lie down and think about life. Doc is the real deal and this cd is a real keeper! I have played it every show since it arrived.
(Ron Dickenson, Buff Blues, CFRC, January 2007)

Exciting Acoustic Countryblues – Rootstime

An exciting acoustic countryblues which will not quickly become tiresome... a balanced cd of top calibre blues work- there are not many which can rival it this year. MacLean has given the blues a new impetus which will stand the test of time. Someone to watch closely!
(Rootstime, January 2007)

Road Warrior tells Great Stories – Leader-Post

“Appealing arrangements of harmonica, mandolin and steel guitar. MacLean tells great stories... Raw vocals... A road warrior with a weather-beaten larynx. He might not have the likeable voice contemporary blues artists exhibit, but MacLean is the real deal.”
– Erin Harde, The Leader-Post, 13 January, 2007.