Michael Reno Harrell
Michael Reno Harrell is an award-winning songwriter, as well as a veteran storyteller and entertainer, and he’s from the South… the Southern Appalachian Mountains to hone it a bit finer.
One could compare Michael’s performances to his granddaddy’s pocket knife: well warn and familiar feeling, but razor sharp and with a point. His brand of entertainment appeals to a very diverse audience. A typical day for Michael might include a program for 4th graders in the afternoon and a concert for a mixed audience that evening.
Michael’s recordings top the Americana Music Association charts year after year. His original songs and stories have been described as “Appalachian grit and wit” but, as his writing shows, Michael’s awareness is much broader than the bounds of his boyhood home or even the Southern Experience. Having toured throughout the British Isles and much of Europe, as well as most of the US, the songs he writes and the stories he creates reflect an insight into people’s experiences that catch the ear like an old friend’s voice.
Michael’s natural knack for storytelling, in print, song and spoken word has earned him praise from not only the music community but from the literary and storytelling worlds as well, having had the honor of being a Featured Teller at the National Storytelling Festival and to be Teller In Residence at the International Storytelling Center, as well as performing at major music events like MerleFest and the Walnut Valley Festival. Along with his performances, Michael often conducts workshops in songwriting and storytelling as well.
Michael’s recordings have for years received and continue to garner awards in Country, Americana and Folk circles. His humor and wit, as well as the emotional depth of his work, keep his fan base growing and staying tuned in for whatever comes next. Don’t miss the chance to experience what those faithful fans keep returning again and again to enjoy.
“Like all great blues men, MacLeod lives his music, and the songs are not just on the tips of his fingers and tongue, they are one with his being.”
– Blues Music Magazine
MacLeod is known for his superb songwriting, guitar wizardry, warm soulful vocals, wit and unforgettable live performances. At the heart of a Doug MacLeod performance is his knack for storytelling, bringing characters-from the faceless to the legendary-to strikingly real life.
Doug is a multiple Blues Music Award winner, most recently the 2018 Blues Music Award for Acoustic Album Of The Year ‘Break The Chain’ and the 2017 Blues Music Award for Acoustic Artist Of The Year.
Doug is an international touring artist who writes and sings original songs that are based on his own life and experiences. He learned from the old masters and carries forward a valuable tradition.
As a youth Doug overcame abuse and a crippling stutter by turning to music. After picking up a guitar, and singing – he found his voice.
MacLeod’s playing landed him sideman gigs with George ‘Harmonica’ Smith, Big Joe Turner, Pee Wee Crayton, Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson, Lowell Fulson and Big Mama Thornton. Over 30 years, 21 studio albums, several live records, compilations, a blues guitar instructional DVD and a live performance DVD, MacLeod has consistently earned raves. His songs have been covered by many artists including Albert King, Albert Collins, Joe Louis Walker and Eva Cassidy. MacLeod’s songs have been featured in many TV movies and the hit show In the Heat of the Night. August Wilson requested his soulful slide guitar playing in the Los Angeles opening of “Gem of the Ocean”.
Like the old masters who taught him, MacLeod’s music expresses life and times through an intangible, elusive quality that may simply be a keen sense of what matters most. Doug’s music, stories, and philosophy provide a healing that has helped others overcome the hardships of their lives.
Doug subscribes to the philosophies he learned from country bluesman Ernest Banks of Toano, VA. “Never play a note you don’t believe” and “Never write or sing about what you don’t know about.”
As Pee Wee Crayton’s widow Esther once told Doug, “You have a message and you’ll send that message mainly to the people who don’t go to church.” Amen.