At 63, Blues musician lives life on the road

Doc Maclean, Mississippi Blues man, with his Caddy. Jerry Laird photo.
Doc Maclean, Mississippi Blues man, with his Caddy. Jerry Laird photo.
By Jerry Laird
Oct. 20, 2014

Mississippi-style blues man Doc Maclean rarely gets up from the same bed two nights in a row.
Maclean is 63 and for 30 years has traveled across Canada and U.S, playing and staying at the gig venue.
“It may be a room provided by a bar owner or a home of a fan who has hosted a house concert.”
One night he stayed at the Dunk, said Maclean. He played at dinner parties there for years but they don’t do that anymore. Hal, the owner of the Dunk, and Maclean are still good buddies.
“I usually stay there when I’m on the Island.”
Breakfast is provided where he stays. After breakfast he loads up the Caddy and embarks on a 20-minute drive to town- considerably less time than most trips between gigs.
This afternoon Maclean is the special guest at the Factory Cookhouse in Charlottetown. During the blues jam Maclean will do a set of his own music with the house band, followed by an open jam. During the jam set local musicians get a chance to play the blues with the Doc.
Maclean’s pay at the Factory is a small amount of cash, two beer and lunch.
Maclean does a great show and is very friendly as he mingles with the crowd during his break.
As he is loading his gear, Maclean is approached by fan and makes arrangements for a house gig in Cardigan. He will do it on his way back through P.E.I. in mid November. His pay for the house gig is cash donations food and lodging.
Its about 5 p.m. Maclean’s Caddy is loaded and he is off to the next gig.
Tonight Doc is doing a show at the Old Belle River Church there he is playing for the door, supper and a place to stay for the night.
Maclean said that if he does not have a gig for that night he sleeps in his Cadillac he brought up from Texas.
He usually tours alone but occasionally he does travel with another artist, but always in the Caddy.
If he was to give advise to young musicians, it would be keep a day job while you play your music.
“I’m 63 and have no pension.”
The record company will always dangle that carrot in front of you, he said.
“Oh, they are really digging you in Boston or they love you in Chicago.”