Doug MacGowan ~ a musical journey
Acoustic and slide guitar virtuoso, Doug MacGowan (formerly Doug B. Smith), has been described in the press as "a major new acoustic guitar talent', “a phenomenally expressive and passionate player” and "quite simply; one of the most gifted, atmospheric, sensitive and technically elite slide and fingerstyle guitarists around".
His music draws together an eclectic range of influences; British and Gaelic traditional songs mixed with American slide blues, captivating original instrumentals and contemporary material. A seamless blend of old and new to create a vibrant, fresh and personal sound. His dynamic and varied approach to acoustic music has found an audience both at home in the folk clubs (including The Davy Lamp, Tyne and Wear; The Ram Club, Claygate; Cambridge Folk Club) and on the more contemporary London roots music scene, where he has played The Borderline, The Spitz and the legendary 12-Bar Club.
Doug has taught at acoustic guitar workshops in the UK and also supported such artists as Bert Jansch (Komedia, Brighton), Kate Rusby (Cecil Sharp House, London), John Renbourn, Robin Williamson and Hazel O’Connor as well as touring the UK with 60s folk blues legend, Wizz Jones.
Doug's two CDs, Diving For Pearls (1998) and A Slight Remove (2003), were both released to great critical acclaim in the press and on radio where tracks have been featured on BBC Radio Scotland and Frank Hennessey's Celtic Heartbeat Show on BBC Radio Wales. A Slight Remove features Doug on vocals/acoustic and slide guitars/banjo together with Pick Withers (Dire Straits) on percussion, Nigel Portman-Smith (Bert Jansch) on fretless bass and top UK dobro player Lennie Harvey. The album prompted Ben Kettlewell of the Alternate Music Press in Australia to write:
"MacGowan and his trusty ensemble have produced an amazing album of virtuoso music. This is a group that excels with talent, warmth and joy. Full of contemporary style and romanticism, they are unique and original in their approach to arrangements of original as well as traditional styles of playing. It is stunning to hear music of this calibre."
As well as playing solo, Doug also plays in roots trio Broke Down Engine, alongside award-winning UK blues guitarist Sonny Black and long-time musical compadre Dick Jones on bass.
A severe back injury in Ireland whilst playing guitar for Irish singer/songwriter Tom Hughes, took Doug away from music for the better part of a decade, but 2019 sees a return to the UK (after seven years in Ireland) and the beginning of a musical renaissance, with a new album planned and a return to live work after a long absence. Doug currently lives in Littlehampton on the south coast.