2017
Bill MacKay & Ryley Walker w/ Wes Tirey
October
25
Wednesday
Doors 8:30, Show 9:30 - $8
Tickets, please
Bill MacKay & Ryley Walker
Chicago-based guitarists Bill MacKay and Ryley Walker met in January 2014 at a friend’s birthday party where they discovered a mutual admiration for Albert King, Laura Nyro, Nick Drake, Bert Jansch, Ali Akbar Khan and Jimi Hendrix. They soon began meeting at Bill’s southwest Chicago home to write and improvise together on their lived-in dreadnought 6-string guitars, with Ryley's 12-string and Bill's requinto making frequent appearances as the year wore on. The duo quickly developed their own musical vocabulary and the resulting sounds drew on traditional folk music from Appalachia to Northern India, as well as jazz and blues. Over the course of the year, an impressive repertoire of new songs and ideas coalesced.

In January 2015, Bill and Ryley took up a month-long, Friday night residency at The Whistler, a live music venue/gallery/record label in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. The overall spirit of the residency was that of a creative workshop producing music that ran in directions as wide as the duo’s interests. Each week, songs took on new shapes, while others were written and added to the always-evolving set list. Alex Inglizian of Experimental Sound Studios recorded the final two shows of the residency and Erik Hall (In Tall Buildings, Wild Belle) mixed the seven tracks that comprise Land of Plenty.

Land of Plenty is completely instrumental and falls somewhere between Ryley Walker’s acclaimed new album, Primrose Green (Dead Oceans), and Bill MacKay’s highly melodic work in Darts & Arrows. Songs run the gamut from fingerstyle ballads to psychedelic waltzes and raga-inspired blues. Guitar tone was a key element when selecting the tracks that made the cut. Like their live set up, Bill’s guitar can be heard on the left of the stereo picture and Ryley’s on the right. Although recorded in a bar in front of a capacity crowd, it’s not until the album’s final seconds that the fourth wall is dropped and the listener can hear the crowd’s raucous applause.



PRESS

‘Land of Plenty showcases two musicians at the top of their game…tasteful, fluid and inspired.’
Duncan Fletcher | Shindig

‘…this guitar masterclass from MOJO rising star Walker and Pittsburgh songwriter MacKay meanders through fuzzy coptic blues, waltzes and spellbinding psych haze.’
Andrew Male | MOJO

‘Land of Plenty is a phenomenal collaboration between the two Chicago-based guitarists Bill MacKay and Ryley Walker….’
Marcus Fruit | Dying for Bad Music

‘…the pair trade lines like old friends deep in conversation… A perfect jazz-folk chaser to Walker’s more singer-songwriter styled Primrose Green LP from earlier this year.’
Tyler Wilcox | Aquarium Drunkard

‘MacKay and Walker have created a seamless instrumental masterpiece…’
Sarah Brooks | Gaper’s Block

‘Land of Plenty – a fantastic new recording culled from the duo’s series…. potent traces of Indian classical ragas, American primitive fingerpicking, old-timey mountain music, and traditional British folk course through the pair’s tightly integrated playing, bits of improvisation showing their almost preternatural interaction and subtle give-and-take….’
Peter Margasak | Chicago Reader
Wes Tirey
text list
with images
venue info
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