posted February 21st, 2017

Bill MacKay is a musician and a musician's friend - a genial guitarist/composer/improviser based in Chicago who has energized the experimental folk, rock and avant scenes around town with his polyglot approach to the guitar, combining the folk of Appalachia, the blues and gospel with rock, jazz, western-country and an array of eastern modes. Mackay's interest in this tactic - essentially, a personal blending of roots elements - has evidence itself throughout his discography. On Esker, his third solo work and his Drag City debut, Bill takes it further with an album of all-original material performed entirely in consort with himself. Playing all the parts with guitars, glass slide, bass, piano and percussion, he deepens his hybrid-genre approach with both contrast and cohesion, creating warm, melodic narratives that draw on folk, psych and experimental rock modes.

The first single (which has a video below!) "Aster", meditates on early American strains with overlapping liquid slide guitars and gently looping piano rhythm. It envelops the listener in cinematic tranquility with an effortless, yet precise sound! Over the past decade-plus, he has recorded records both as a solo artist and with his band Darts & Arrows, while performing and collaborating with a number of other artists. The dynamic singularity with which Bill ties his interests together is the key to his music, an effortless combination of wide-ranging elements that evokes a warm and swathed view of the world around us. Would but the grace of his slide guitars accompany our final steps into the grave, it would be a life well-spent! Mark your calendars for May 5th!

May 13th at Company Brewing for Milwaukee Psychfest in Milwaukee, WI

Artists in this story: Bill MacKay