Ride shotgun with Doc MacLean as the world's wildest blues tour plays sixty shows across Southern Africa...

Photo Credit: Stefan Hurter

Thursday, September 10, 2020


A brief conclusion to a remarkable tour. With Covid lockdown I was eight months in Africa. For the first time in my adult life I didn't know where I was going to be in three, six, twelve months time. As lockdown persisted my North American and Australian tours vanished, and I settled in for a long stay in the cane fields of KwaZulu-Natal. When I did get my travel permits to go to Cape Town, I'd had plenty of time to consider my next moves: back into Sharp Street Studios to work on tracks and figure out the shape of the next album.

By the time I had to fly out in August, I'd completed scratch tracks for the album, and moved ahead with a finished track. Yeah, a single! I haven't released a single since I used to make 7 inch, 45 rpm records in the 1980s. This one is called "Africa Blues," and it's going to drop in late September of this year- in just a few weeks time. No, it won't be vinyl! Digital release.

Hanging out in Muizenburg- a surf suburb of Cape Town- I had time to catch up with my pal Robin Auld. It’s official. I’ve joined Shoreline Songs. Robin's Cape Town, South Africa based company features a raster of high achieving, well established African singer-songwriters, and is best known for it’s international film and television placements. With Shoreline, I’ll have increased opportunity to reach broader global audiences and markets.

Photo credit: Olga Calligé captured the moment with Robin Auld at one of my shows in Kalk Bay. There are a handful of photographers that work hard to document the South African music scene, and she's one of the very best.

I wrote and produced “Africa Blues” during the N'ganga Blues Tour. Recorded at Sharp Street Studios, Cape Town. Willem Moller, engineer. Mixed at Pinhead Studios, Nashville, by one of my dearest friends and longest musical associates- Grammy winning co-producer and mix engineer, Colin Linden. Mastered at Zen Studios, Nashville, by another pal, Grammy winning mastering engineer, Ray Kennedy.

"Africa Blues" returns American, delta blues to it's traditional, west African roots, and speaks to a continued common heritage in these times of change, challenge and struggle. Rising, South African star Lungiswa “Lulu” Plaatjies guests on the track. I'm working to deliver the full album, “Streamline,” by year end. Here’s a solo acoustic, teaser of "Streamline" we shot at Red Hill, on the Cape of Good Hope….

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Nganga Blues Tour Closes: Virus Fears & Public Safety Cancel Remaining Dates

Like this place, I'm slowly being swallowed by the jungle, and I, too, am half heartedly resisting the sweet dampness of night, the thick air of the day.

For the last couple of weeks the world has also spun more rapidly here: Africa: KwaZulu Natal. My Nganga Blues Tour falling from sold out shows to a dozen people and a couple of dogs. Shows by candle and lantern because the power has been so often lost. Beautiful moments. My years as a busker providing me enough power to sing and play without microphones. The show always went on. And now: only the noises of the cane fields and the jungle around me.

Eighteen shows cancelled. This Tour shutting down now now. It's been fading for ten days, but now- like the rest of the world- the Tour is hiding, waiting, wondering. And I'm surrendering to the jungle.

My current digs, this caravan. Captain Moreland was ship wrecked on this coast a couple of hundred years ago. Now, I too, am a castaway, foraging in this place without means or expectations. Free for the first time in years.
#docmaclean #ngangabluestour #nationalsteelbluestour #africanblues #canafricabluestour

Doc MacLean

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Reception at the Canadian High Commission

A classy, diplomatic event at the Official Residence of the Canadian High Commissioner to South Africa. A reception was held to celebrate my N'ganga Blues Tour. Representatives from several countries attended, as did members of the media, and persons from the business and entertainment communities.

Conversation was marvellous, and attendees were treated to two sets of the blues, as well as a guest appearance by South African singer songwriter, Tim Parr. I'm pictured here with Canadian High Commissioner, Kim Butler, and his partner Tyler. My thanks to everyone involved.

Doc MacLean

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

N'ganga Roads

Blues skies over this African summer, and the Tour has had a relatively uneventful run across the Western Cape. Indeed, I'm settling in to this place. Neither Africa nor I are as exotic as we once were, but we still laugh and thrill each other as new lovers do.
Communication has been a major problem. Facebook has refused all links to this site as it "violates" their "community standards." And you can't contact a real person to fix it. Both my public email addresses have stopped working. International banking remains impossible. Most posts to this Blog vanish. They say you can do it by phone, but you can't get away with more than one picture, and a scrabble of text.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Sharp Street Studios, Cape Town

I had a great day yesterday at Cape Town's Sharp Street Studios. Owner-engineer Willem Moller has produced and recorded a who's who of the South African music scene. The tracks will tell the tale! I'm excited about moving forward with this project. Definitely, some cool stuff! I recorded nine songs that I'd never heard before. My own songs- I've just never had a chance to hear what they sounded like from the other side of the mic. Tonight I'm on Long St., at Sgt. Peppers...

Doc MacLean

Taking Wings in Cape Town

Friday, January 17, 2020

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends; Welcoming Paul Bothner Music to the Tour

I'm pleased to announce that Paul Bothner Music will be returning as a Nganga tour partner. We've done a couple of comprehensive, southern African tours in the past, and it has always been a pleasure to work with them. Here, Bothner's new promo manager, Wayne Shelver, runs down production gear with me at the company's Cape Town warehouse. It's a family business, much like North America's Long & McQuade, and it works with most of South Africa's top tier artists. I'm grateful to be in such good company.

Doc MacLean