Monday, December 15, 2008

Doug MacLeod - The Utrecht Sessions (Black & Tan, 2008)

Guitarist and vocalist MacLeod had to travel far and wide in order to cut this deep, meditative and thoughtful album of acoustic blues. Touching on delta, folk blues and gospel, his music and lyrics are deeply understated and gain a quiet power from it. "Sheep of a Different Color" is a very interesting "blues and the news" song about how politicians have abandoned the common people in America, from Katrina to California, with the stinging lyrics sung over a deep dark and ominous groove. "This Old River" and "I Respectfully Decline" are deeply personal blues looking into death, mortality and family. "Where You'll Find Me" is also a poignant and emotional song, MacLeod really bears his heart on his sleeve on these songs, which are deeply emotional and very effective. "The Demon's Moan" is a very good performance as well, with his deeply affected voice matched by his wailing and keening guitar. The mystery of this song is also matched by the opener "Horse With No Rider." MacLeod treats his listener with respect and the music here is genuine and it's true meaning is revealed with repeated listenings. With the blues scene studded with Stevie Ray wannabes, with their amps cranked up to eleven, it's great and refreshing to hear a bluesman take the time to tell well thought stories over an intricate acoustic groove.
The Utrecht Sessions -

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