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.