Posted on June 10th, 2015 | by Leslie


Day 10/27 – James MacKay

Where to start with James MacKay…

There are many people involved in this project who have known James for a long time, far longer than me.  He’s in GCDC (with Dave & Kris), and they used to be a band with one of the best names ever, Tasha Dies Twice.  We first met at the Moonshine Cafe where he is so often holding down the fort.  It was months before I realized he played and wrote and sang, and damn, does he do them all well.

There’s no one quite like James.  He’s so understated, yet he shines so brightly.  When we sent him the songs he’d be playing on we asked him to find a space in each and to fill it, just to do his thing, because we trusted him to hear what only he could hear and make a sonic translation for the rest of us.  Trust is a precious thing in this industry.  When you find musicians you can trust to be their spectacular selves, but who balance their artistry with yours, do what you can to keep them in your sphere.

On the album James plays electric, atmospheric and slide guitar, and even finds a place for his analog synth for which I am giddily grateful.  Ever heard an ambient space Roma hip hop tune?  Well you will.  It’s as though Ani DiFranco hung out with Jamiroquai one day and they brought along a fiddler (more about him tomorrow).  James plays tones that just melt your heart, your ears, and your mind.  Every song he’s touched has been elevated and transformed.

James, you are a riddle of hidden depths.  It has been a privilege to witness you get lost in the music as often as I have.  From late-night jamming at the Shine, to JCS, to this project, every musical journey we’ve shared has been uplifting.  I hope for many more in the future.  Thank you for raising the bar.

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