The Rainbow Bistro, 76 Murray Street, Ottawa/ Byward Market
Son of a civil rights lawyer and a fiddle player, MacLean was by his early teens playing harmonica and washboard in coffeehouses and festivals, and was appearing on radio and television variety shows. In 1972 he formed a duo with another young musician, Colin Linden, (Grammy nominated producer and recent Dylan guitarist) and became a frequent and popular opener for Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee, Muddy Waters, and John Hammond.
In his travels Doc met and became friends with many older musicians including Son House, Tampa Red, ‘Sippi Wallace, Yank Rachel, Robert Pete Williams, Rev Robert Wilkins and Bukka White. His youthful work as an accompanist included tours and performances with Peg Leg Sam the Medicine Show Man, Blind John Davis, Sunnyland Slim, Little Brother Montgomery, Rev Pearly Brown, the Carter Family and Sam Chatmon.
Doc MacLean released the critically acclaimed CD, Narrow House, in September 2006. Produced by Colin Linden, the recording featured bassist Larry Taylor and drummer percussionist Stephen Hodges, former section of the Tom Waits band. Driven by MacLean’s distinctive vocals and bare fingers National guitar, Narrow House plotted an emotional remapping of contemporary, Delta rooted music.
For the last six years Doc’s National Steel Tours have been sponsored by Long & McQuade, Canada’s largest music retailer, and have featured blues masterclasses and workshops in it’s many locations from coast to coast. His intimate knowledge of the blues has also seen him featured in numerous documentaries, and in an increasing number of educational, in-the-schools presentations.
MacLean’s recent schedule has included club and concert dates with Joe Murphy, Guy Davis, Big Bill Morganfield, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, BB King, Duke Robillard, Lucky Peterson, Magic Slim, Tony Furtado, Downchild, Slick Ballinger, Colin Linden, Los Lobos, Johnny Winter and others. In Canada his relentless touring has reached nearly every area, and has seen him paired up with Juno/Maple winning artists such as Big Dave McLean, Michael Pickett, and Morgan Davis for headline theatre, concert, and festival appearances. (to hear a live track, play “Jimmie Lee Jackson’s Blues” and “Feel Like Goin’ Home.”) Fall 2013 saw him touring with Mississippi’s Libby Rae Watson.
Big Dave McLean & Doc MacLean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9-z-vs9wC8
Now appearing most often as a solo performer, he is equally comfortable at a folk festival workshop, priming a rowdy blues festival crowd, or telling a story in a hushed theatre. In his father’s footsteps, Doc’s concerns for social justice have lead him to perform in the prisons, soup kitchens, picket lines, and hospices of the many communities he passes through.
Adventures in Africa: https://texxandthecity.com/2022/01/canadian-bluesman-doc-maclean-announces-his-2022-streamline-blues-sa-tour https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if1uLpoaVtI&list=OLAK5uy_luqEV5TwIyfUAsFVDsDq5VBTwuBuP8LqQ