There’s a Time

The masterful storytelling guitarist Doug MacLeod has recorded a string of fascinating albums over the past 30 years, but this is the first time, as he says in the liner notes, “We (bassist Denny Croy and drummer Jimi Bott) didn’t use headphones. We recorded live so there are no overdubs on this album.” The result is a warm, rich-sounding disc that captures the trio working their way through a baker’s dozen of MacLeod’s unique songs about life’s ups and downs, all played with consummate taste. Just 67, MacLeod has a folksy approach to his material as revealed on such talking blues as “Run with the Devil,” his morality tale that warns “if you’re gonna run with the devil, you’re gonna pay,” and “Dubb’s Talking Religion Blues,” a six-minute saga of an encounter with a street-corner preacher. Playing a variety of mostly National guitars, MacLeod wrings the maximum from each with evocative slide-guitar playing on songs like “Rosa Lee” and “East Carolina Woman.” “My In-Laws Are Outlaws” examines an unexpected side of marriage, while “The Up Song” is full of peppy advice along the lines of: You get time to stand up, show up and shut up, but it’s never time to give up.