Bill MacKay

Esker

Mojo (UK) - - News - An­drew Male

DRAG CITY. CD/DL/LP Chicago-based folk-blues gui­tarist, with a psych edge.

If you first heard Bill MacKay’s play­ing on Land Of Plenty, his 2015 col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ry­ley Walker, or his work with Chicago quar­tet Darts & Ar­rows, you might be for­given for think­ing he was a gui­tarist most at home with in the rest­less world of ex­ploratory jazz-folk and im­pro­vi­sa­tional ra­gas. If so, lis­ten­ing to Esker will come as a def­i­nite yet de­light­ful sur­prise. Bear­ing more sim­i­lar­ity to his gor­geous 2015 LP Sun­rise, cov­er­ing the in­ti­mate, melodic com­po­si­tions of Chicago folk gui­tarist John Hul­bert, Esker seems to in­habit two worlds, for­mal elec­tric folk-blues in­stru­men­tals that, through MacKay’s in­no­va­tive play­ing, also ex­ist in an­other ghostly world of psychedelic har­mon­ics and shift­ing depths. At times, it re­calls the late-’60s acid blues ex­per­i­ments on Leigh Stephens’ Red Weather and Peter Green’s The End Of The Game but with a shim­mer­ing sum­mer op­ti­mism and tex­tu­ral com­plex­ity all MacKay’s own.

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