Bill MacKay and Darts & Arrows | Bill MacKay and Darts & Arrows

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Folk: Folk Pop Rock: Experimental Rock Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Bill MacKay and Darts & Arrows

by Bill MacKay and Darts & Arrows

"...Genre-bending Chicago quartet.... Instrumental pop music – is rare to hear played live, and played well, rarer still, but MacKay’s compositions are much more nuanced than your typical jam-band." WNUR 89.3 FM / Chicago
Genre: Folk: Folk Pop
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  Song Share Time Download
1. As I Knew Her
2:35 $1.00
2. Behind the Summer
4:02 $1.00
3. Black Leaves
5:03 $1.00
4. Road to the Seaway
4:43 $1.00
5. Do Not Follow
3:54 $1.00
6. Whispers
5:31 $1.00
7. New Song
7:02 $1.00
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Darts & Arrows

Players and selected groups & others in orbit
Bill MacKay, guitar Bud Melvin, Colorlist, Sounds of Now, Broken Things
Charles Rumback, drums Leafbird, Via Tania, Horse’s Ha, Colorlist, L’altra, the Leaves
Matthew Golombisky, bass Tomorrow Music Orchestra, Zing! Ears & Eyes Festival
Ben Boye, keyboards Health & Beauty, David Boykin Expanse
Greg Ward, guests on clarinet Occidental Bros. Dance Band, Blink, Rebel Souls
on Black Leaves

As I Knew Her | Behind the summer | Black Leaves
Road to the Seaway |Do not Follow | Whispers |New Song

Darts & Arrows emerged as an experimental outfit, melding the avant-garde with folkloric sensibilities. One listener likened it to a ‘carnival of strings’ for its mixing of folk and dark autumnal-themed improvisations, both of which lent themselves to the early lineup of acoustic guitar, double bass, cello, violin and drums.

The band’s first show took place in 2006 in a church/performance space called South Union Arts, and featured Bill MacKay, guitar. Charles Rumback, drums. Lili Wosko, cello & Martha Stahl, voice. The ethereal (the very reverberant church did most of the work) half-hour long performance proved to be an inspiring seed. The current lineup is MacKay, Rumback, Boye and Kyle Hernandez on bass.

[Darts & Arrows is a] “Genre-busting Chicago quartet that takes folk/pop instrumentals and turns them into improvised explorations. Instrumental pop music - if such a thing can exist - is rare to hear played live, and played well, rarer still, but MacKay’s compositions are much more nuanced than your typical jam band.”
—WNUR 89.3 FM

Various Venues
The Skylark, the Charleston, South Union Arts, the Whistler, Hungry Brain, Velvet Lounge, WNUR Studio session, Strobe Recording (Concert Series), Music Garage, etc.

Some inspirations & sources;
The Beatles, Sandy Bull, Laura Nyro, Nick Drake, John Coltrane, Jane’s Addiction, The Clash, Victor Jara, Brigitte Fontaine, Jacques Brel, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Albert King, Leadbelly, Opal/Mazzy Star, The Who, Os Mutantes, Bela Bartok, The Doors, Sylvia Plath, Roy Buchanan, Alice Coltrane, Velvet Underground, Georges Bolet, Jorma Kaukonen, My Bloody Valentine, Pentangle, Gram Parsons, Louis-Ferdinand Celine, Jack Kerouac, Thomas Wolfe. Joseph Amiel.

All Songs/MacKay Copyright 2010
Published by Son of Fire Recordings/ASCAP []



to write a review

Peter Margasak

Guitarist Bill MacKay Finds HIs Sweet Spot
Guitarist Bill MacKay Finds His Sweet Spot
Posted by Peter Margasak on Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 2:10 PM

Guitarist Bill MacKay, a Pittsburgh native who moved to Chicago in 1998, has stayed on the margins of the city's jazz and improvised-music scenes, despite playing with folks like Colorlist, Savoir Faire, and Jason Ajemian's Who Cares How Long You Sink—or maybe it'd be more fair to say that he's stayed on the margins of my awareness. MacKay's aesthetic is clearly indebted to the twangy pastoralism of Bill Frisell—a sound that, despite its popularity, lacks a deep connection to most improvised music being made in Chicago.

He's released a couple of solid records over the past six years or so, including 2007's Swim to the River, a nice jazz outing billed to Broken Things, aka MacKay, bassist Ajemian, drummer Tim Daisy, and alto saxophonist Greg Ward. Listening to those records I hear a musician working hard to define himself and create an original sound. Listening to the recent self-titled debut by his ensemble Darts & Arrows, which he started in 2006, I hear a musician who's succeeded in doing just that.

MacKay has always incorporated bits of rock and folk into his music, but whereas his past hybrids have come off slightly clunky, the new one is graceful and seamless. He takes plenty of solos, but his improvisations are thoughtfully woven into the rich arrangements, so that they're integral to the music's structural integrity. The record features Charles Rumback on drums, Matthew Golombisky on bass, and Ben Boye on keyboards (Ward contributes some beautiful clarinet on "Black Leaves"), and they work hard to create a detailed ensemble setting, shaping unobtrusive grooves and harmonic shapes with the same restraint the guitarist applies to his melodic extrapolations. It's difficult to say if what Darts & Arrows play is jazz or folk or rock, and the line between composed and improvised material is likewise fuzzy. Those are both good things in my book, but even better is the way the group's abundantly inventive music flows so naturally, with a delicate rhythmic touch.