Bill MacKay


Bill MacKay cut his teeth in various bands and projects spanning genres across the United States, and has created an extensive body of original work, while energizing the folk, avant-garde, and experimental diaspora.

MacKay’s blissful harmonic control and just-outside-the-box guitar mastery are one with his compelling songwriting, and his creative voyage and imaginative influences are fully displayed on his most recent solo records: Fountain Fire (Drag City, 2019) Esker (Drag City, 2017), and SpiderBeetleBee (Drag City, 2017) his second duo set with Ryley Walker.

His first recording with musical partner, cellist Katinka Kleijn (Chicago Symphony Orchestra), also came out in 2019. Entitled STIR, it centers on MacKay’s compositions as arranged by the duo, and reveals yet another fiery and sublime entry in his discography.

These recordings along with his unmatched live performances reveal a startling range – from the folk of Appalachia, avant-rock, and blues to jazz, raga-esque excursions, and western modes. MacKay’s music has received praise in reviews by the Chicago Reader, Mojo, Uncut, Downbeat, Paste, Pop Matters, The Quietus, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and many other publications.

Below is an example of his score work:

Using reconsidered amateur footage and testimony from Chicago, FLIGHT LOGS unveils fear, profiteering, violence, community, and humanity experienced under racist systems during the “white flight” that shaped American neighborhoods — from the perspective of families who lived it.

Official Selection Maryland Film Festival 2020