Fresh Emotional Dynamic
Lindsay Mac plays the cello and sings. If you are reading this because you are contemplating booking Lindsay, we encourage you to listen...that's right, you guessed it...to the MUSIC as it is the thing we care to hang our hats on.
Speaking of music, a third album is in the works with a bit of a new sound on board. Electronic beats married to a ever-present acoustic human element. Unabashedly poppy yet oddly quirky. Stay tuned...
If you are one who cares to know about industry hoopla or Lindsay's life story, read on.
For fans of:
Feist, Rouge Wave, Damien Rice, Ray LaMontagne, Regina Spektor, Ani DiFranco, Coldplay, Beck (Sea Change)
"Cry, Cry, Cry" is a Finalist in the 2010 International Songwriting Competition. There were originally 15, 000 entries and there were 16 Finalists from that crowd.
Lindsay Mac Band performed live on the Bob & Tom Show for a listenership of 5 mil in 2010.
Lindsay's sophomore album, "Stop Thinking", aired on all American Airlines' flights starting Jan 2009 and has also been named #2 in Music Connection Magazine's TOP 25 OF 2008.
Radio station WUMB in Boston named "Stop Thinking" the #2 in their 2009 list of Top 10 Albums of The Year
"Cry, Cry, Cry" has been selected as a winner in the 16th Annual Billboard Song Contest. It snagged #3 in the Pop category.
WFUV picks Lindsay Mac as Artists You Need To Know 2009 (w/ Bell X1, Bon Iver, Duffy, Fleet Foxes, Ra Ra Riot, and more).
Lindsay Mac has been on the front cover of the Boston Globe and the cover of Strings magazine. She has also been on the cover of the Globe's Weekend section and featured in publications such as AOL's Spinner, The New York Times’ About.com, Northeast Performer, and the largest Spanish-language music magazine, Musico Pro.
Radio and TV:
"Stop Thinking", and her debut, "Small Revolution", have received very nice support from stations around the globe. If you'd like a full list, please visit www.lindsaymac.com/radio.html
Here are a few (*in-studios):
WFUV, New York*
XM Satellite Radio
WDST, Woodstock, NY*
Danish National Radio
Minnesota Public Radio, KCMP The Current*
WDET, Detroit Public Radio*
KPIG, Santa Cruz*
KVMR, Nevada City, CA*
ABC KLVY News, Fargo, ND*
Fox 25 News, Boston, MA*
2009 WFUV Artists You Need To Know 2009
2009 "Stop Thinking" to be on all American Airlines flights
2009 "Stop Thinking" ranks #2 on WUMB's Top Albums Of 2008
2009 "Stop Thinking" named #2 in Music Connection's TOP 25 New Music Critiques Of 2008
2009 Lindsay Mac named to Top 100 Unsigned Acts by Music Connection
2008 Music Connection gives highest score for "Stop Thinking" review, Nov issue.
2008 Sophomore album Stop Thinking released in October
2008 NERFA Showcasing Artist
2008 Falcon Ridge Featured Artist
2008 Falcon Ridge Preview Tour
2007 Kerrville New Folk Finalist
2007 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist - Voted "Most Wanted" To Return for 2008
2007 New Year's Eve Concert for Peace @ Catherdral of St. John The Divine, NYC (also feat. Judy Collins)
2007 Club Passim's Cutting Edge of the Campfire Festival
2007 North by Northeast Artist
2007 FolkWest's IndieFest Artist
2007 Starbucks Music Makers Competition Finalist
Lindsay Mac was born in Iowa to bohemian, party-hungry parents who likely fed her pork tenderloin and Midwest microbrews for breakfast.
This explains a lot.
She was classically trained starting at the age of six in church choir and formal training in piano and cello came shortly thereafter. After attending a public high school and, in the summer, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Lindsay enrolled in Dartmouth College to study what else but medicine.
She took advantage of the College's foreign study opportunities and moved to London to study at the Royal College of Music and then briefly left Dartmouth to study at The San Francisco Conservatory as well as to be a professional ski patroller in Utah and bike messenger.
She returned to Dartmouth, graduated, and starting experimenting with her music while living in a cabin heated by a wood stove. It is there that she found her voice and her unique style was born. Fearing the cello might be used for kindling, she enrolled in Berklee College of Music and shortly thereafter began touring full-time. The rest is yet to come.
Lindsay Mac - keys, Cello, Lead Vox
Mona Tavakoli - Drums, Percussion, vox.
Meghan Toohey - guitars, keys, VOX
Dev Ray - Sound Engineer and special effects
Jason Petrin - Beats and Programming
Stop Thinking (2008) - LP
Small Revolution (2007) - Re-mastered, re-released.
Small Revolution (2005) - LP
Airplay on 100-plus AAA and NPR-affiliate stations.
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If you'd like Lindsay's One Sheet, and we'd like you to have it, you can find it under the heading "...If you'd like Lindsay's One Sheet, and we'd like you to have it, you can find it under the heading "Basic Requirements". It's a pdf...
WFUV's Artists You Need To Know 2009
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Bell X1 Bon Iver Anthony Da Costa Corey Chisel Delta Spirit Duffy Fleet Foxes Friendly Fires ...Bell X1
Anthony Da Costa
Mates of State
Daniel Martin Moore
Ra Ra Riot
The Watson Twins
#2 in BEST OF 2008!
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*No. 2 in BEST OF 2008!!* *Top 100 Unsigned Bands* ** HIGHEST RATED CD OF ISSUE** Nov 2008: ...*No. 2 in BEST OF 2008!!*
*Top 100 Unsigned Bands*
** HIGHEST RATED CD OF ISSUE**
Cello never sounded so cool as when played by this singer/songwriter/cellist, whose well-produced songs are both intelligent and fun. Mac's voice imparts a certain sexy mischief to tunes such as "Stop Thinking", "Faith", and "Barbies & Broncos", each of which is deftly arranged, never overproduced, and capture the singer's sassy and spirited persona. These are radio-ready recordings, the kind of material that populates mainstream playlists and would dove-tail nicely with tunes by Phair, Feist, and Bedingfield.
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***** "Stunning and goosebump inducing. Mac’s sound is simply beautiful." - Show of the Month, No...*****
"Stunning and goosebump inducing. Mac’s sound is simply beautiful."
- Show of the Month, Northeast Performer Magazine.
“I can’t rave enough about this dazzling debut, one of the year’s best in every way.”
"Primal and arresting."
"Spunky!" - The Boston Globe
"Piercingly beautiful and truthful." "Mac’s voice is so sincere that it cuts through to your heart."
- Northeast Performer Magazine
A sampling of MySpace posts:
"Your song made me cry right here at my desk."
"You give me hope that there is still good music to be made."
"Your voice gives me goosebumps."
"I am completely inspired by what you do. I want to be a viola rockstar and you give me hope. Wow. I’m so excited about this."
"OH MY GOSH!!...just wow really. I absolutely love it. It's beautiful and fresh and.....JUST WOW.”
“Raucous, to ribald, to beautifully poignant….”
– San Diego Troubador
"I want to run into the streets and force strangers to stop what they’re doing and listen to this crazy genius girl with her strapped-on cello. Viva la revolution and all things Lindsay Mac."
“Her compositions (are) conduits into the experiences we all share and Mac’s music quenched the thirst of the audience’s ears… She’s a spirit that will entertain the world for years to come, entrancing listeners all the while.”
- Music Connection Magazine
“Lindsay Mac has the talent to move alongside the titans in this section of the industry; with the commercialization of Liz Phair, there needs to be a strong and assertive voice for the oppressed in society to draw from. “Small Revolution” thus is right in its definition of itself; here’s hoping that Lindsay comes out with other albums of this same caliber...”
- NeuFutur and InterStitial Magazines
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CELLIST PLUCKS HER WAY FROM CARNEGIE HALL INTO WINTERS A woman and her cello. Lindsay Mac walks ...CELLIST PLUCKS HER WAY FROM CARNEGIE HALL INTO WINTERS
A woman and her cello.
Lindsay Mac walks out onto an empty stage, the cello strapped over her shoulder like a guitar.
A simple pairing - musician and instrument - that quickly becomes a complex, remarkable and unforgettable performance, should you be fortunate enough to be at the Palms Playhouse in Winters, at 7PM on Sun, Jan. 27.
Mac has a Web site, www.lindsaymac.com, that features a trio of her songs.
Mac appearing in the hamlet of Winters is a tad unusual. She is a rising star nationally, has opened to k.d. lang and has already performed at Carnegie Hall.
Mac is a classically trained cellist but from the first pluck of the strings and the first verse of her original tunes there is no simple way to define her blending of folk, sultry jazz and blues with a dash of country sometimes thrown in for good measure.
Her vocal strength competes with her cello prowess, turning her songs into displays of delicacy that can be overpowering.
Long single notes that meld into a momentary silence. A heartfelt tone one moment followed by bursts of upbeat spunkiness. Lindsay Mac sings and she plays the cello, but that is like saying the Grand Canyon is in the desert and has a river running through it.
Some reviews have credited Mac with creating a new genre of music - in part from her usually foregoing the traditional bow to play the cello - relying instead on finger-plucking the strings rendering a unique and intriguing brand of music.
Born in Iowa, Mac is still a twentysomething whose love affair with the cello began in the fourth grade. Her training has been from some of the best music schools in the world including Dartmouth, the Royal College of Music in London, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the Berklee School of Music in Boston. Then she discovered she could sing.
Mac is currently leading the vagabond life of a touring singer/songwriter.
Last year she performed more than 150 concerts across the United States and Canada.
In the weeks after her Winters show she will be performing in Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, and Memphis.
This month she has already performed in New York, Massachusetts and Maine.
RADIO ARTIST INTERVIEW
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ARTIST INTERVIEW: LINDSAY MAC March 26, 2008 If you're looking for music that accurately exhibit...ARTIST INTERVIEW: LINDSAY MAC
March 26, 2008
If you're looking for music that accurately exhibits the human condition—-from serious contemplations of hope to impulsive
fantasies—-cellist and singer-songwriter Lindsay Mac will satisfy your want. What's more is she fashions her cello like a guitar,
strapped on her frame with no bow—just her fingers tugging and plucking notes. The awe-inspiring full-time musician steps away from her busy schedule to give WERS a glimpse and sound of her talents.
Mac rolls into her set with an acoustic
version of "Small Revolution," as her fingers dance all over the cello to an upbeat melody. Her oscillating vocals drift atop the studio like moving clouds to match her dreamland lyrics about Peter Pan (inspired by a trip on the Peter Pan bus, the song becomes something more).
Mac explains the reasoning behind these quirky lyrics, saying, "I like to bring as much of myself to the table as I can when I perform and that means being happy, angry, vulnerable, funny, sad...being everything that everyone is but they just don’t always show."
She moves onto a song called "Stop
Thinking" (from her new album to be
released this fall) which delivers a much more "progressive" tinge. When asked if "Stop Thinking" is a sound of hers to start getting used to, Mac says "I definitely think so. I want to think right now that less is more and I’m trying to deliver as much
meaning and as much everything—maybe having things be a little less busy...you’re just gonna hear what it sounds like for me to have been playing my instrument for so
The performance takes a plunge into a soft enchanting "Seven Stones" with Mac's fingers flittering above the cello's strings. Mac says this song offers "hope when all the chips are down" and its lyrics harmonize with
this concept. Having heard a full variety of sound, style, and lyrics in just three songs, Mac has settled a warm place in the hearts of the
WERS listening community.
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*************************** LIVE REVIEW: THE UNREPENTANT FOLKIES (Pittsburgh, PA) ****************...***************************
LIVE REVIEW: THE UNREPENTANT FOLKIES (Pittsburgh, PA)
Big Boss Man
(6/26/05 12:53 pm)
Lindsay Mac - Pittsburgh - 6/24/05
This was a free, outdoor lunch-hour concert. The paper had her labeled as "folk", which they tend to do whenever somebody plays an acoustic instrument or plays with sparse accompanyment. If I had to label Lindsay Mac as anything, which I hate to do, I'd say she's kind of jazzy.
In any event, this was a pleasant surprise. She was selling her new CD, & I wish I had more than $8 on me at the time. I'll buy it on line, hugh betcha.
She played with a cello strapped to her like a guitar & played said cello like a guitar. I had never seen that before in my life. It couldn't have been fun out there in the 94 degree heat, with no shade, with a big cello attached to her, but it didn't seem to matter to her. She was accompanied by a percussionist.
This was a fantastic show. Lindsay Mac writes catchy songs & clever lyrics, sings well & with feeling, & the instrumental accompaniment is interesting & different to say the least. I hate to compare people, but some of her phrasing reminded me of Joni Mitchell or Rickie Lee Jones, cept I now like Lindsay Mac more than either of those two. She told the story of each song as an introduction & engaged the audience by "making eyes" & smiling & what almost seemed to be flirting. I'm sure the latter wasn't directed at me, despite sitting in the front row, as I'm a 47-year-old man whose hair is thinning & who needed my glasses to see her.
You can hear clips of her new CD at her site.
LIVE REVIEW: NUVO (Indianapolis, IN)
Indy's Weekly Alternative Newspaper Hightlighting Arts, Entertainment and Social Justice
PASSION AND PRECISION
by Paul F.P. Pogue | Jul 05th, 2006
Lindsay Mac with Brooke McKinney
Saturday, July 1
Make the rounds of the music scene long enough, and after a while you just want to hear something new. With this in mind, I can categorically state I have never before heard, and probably never will hear again, Bill Withers’ oft-covered “Use Me” played on a plucked cello as performed by Lindsay Mac at the Indy Hostel July 1.
Lindsay Mac herself displayed a highly developed sense of pacing, a willingness to play with the sound system for echoes and unearthly tones, the sheer chutzpah to throw in random yodeling and, oh yes, that
cello-played-as-guitar. She’s a classically trained cellist, and when she got into the whole singer-sonwriter thing, as she put it, she decided to go with what she knew. She creates a sound not quite like any other.
Think of the basic tinkling of a ukulele and then inject it full of really good steriods. The size gives it a naturally deep, rich echo that occasionally gives the illusion of being electric. On her slower work the cello takes on, of all things, the tenor of a Coda-era Jimmy Page.
Just in case you were wondering, it really is possible to rock the hell out on a guitar-cello.
Mac also shows a real talent for the musical and experimental side of songwriting. Not everyone has a feel for the ebb and flow of music, so when someone comes along with Mac’s innate understanding of pace, you take notice. She controls her songs with passion and precision, drawing out the emotional ride of the music with the storytelling of the lyrics.
More info: www.lindsaymac.com
LIVE REVIEW: NAAM 2006 (Los Angeles, CA)
“NAAM 2006 Oddities” website.
I was walking past the Fostex booth when I happened to see Lindsay Mac performing solo. She straps on a cello and then plays it like a guitar and let me tell you, she rocked. I bought her CD on the spot and I’m very impressed with the songwriting, the singing, the performances, and the production. Check it out.
LIVE REVIEW: MUSIC CONNECTION MAGAZINE (Los Angeles, CA)
West Hollywood, CA
Lindsay Mac: An empowered folk singer with a radiant presence.
The Players: Lindsay Mac, cello, vocals.
Material: Looking and sounding like she could be Ani diFranco’s little sister, Lindsay Mac is an empowered young female artist who tells stories onstage, while accompanying herself on cello. Her songs include personal experiences, such as people-watching on the morning train in Boston or musical anecdotes of friends she’s met traveling through the lonely wilderness of the Northwest.
Musicianship: Mac strums the cello like an acoustic guitar, creating a sound that is unique, almost jazz like, and sounds perfect with the literary vibe of her material. Her classical training is evident, but Mac is no music snob. Plucking and strumming chords with eyes closed and a radiant smile, Mac conveys sunshine. Mac’s talent (and years of practice) make the cello look much easier to play than it really is, especially without a bow.
Performance: Lindsay Mac put her heart and soul into each song, losing herself within the music. Her compositions were conduits into the experiences we all share –– she simply adds a soundtrack to a life spent moving across the towns and cities of America. Mac sipped a dark beer to wet her lips while her music quenched the thirst of the audience’s ears.
Summary: Lindsay Mac is a folk singer that happens to play cello. She has an easy repartee with her audience, introducing each song with a glint in her eye, and a bit of giggling, while sharing humorous experiences from the road. Being alone onstage doesn’t seem to faze her at all –– she’s a wandering spirit that will entertain lounges around the world for years to come, entrancing listeners all the while.
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*************************** ALBUM REVIEW: INDIE-MUSIC.COM *************************** Date: S...
ALBUM REVIEW: INDIE-MUSIC.COM
Date: Saturday, September 03, 2005
By Kevan Breitinger
Lindsay Mac/"Small Revolution"
A misnomer of the first degree. There’s nothing small about Lindsay Mac or her revolution. The first fat plunking notes immediately signal originality, creativity squared; the mad whispered vocals confirm my suspicions. Strap yourself in and let the wild things begin.
Classically trained cellist Lindsay Mac bends genres, notes, and expectations with grace and glee, and she has a good time doing it too, thank you very much. It’s just as much fun to listen to. Veering madly from the Beat poet opener “Lucy” to the earthy techno-funk cover of Bill Withers’ “Use Me” to the merry bluegrass tale that is “Nowhere,” Mac pulls rabbits out of her bottomless hat with lightning speed. That’s only the first three songs, and you still haven’t figured out how she’s making these outrageous tones. When reviewing, I generally read liner notes and the press package only after a complete listen so that my observations are my own. Not this time, uh uh. And let me take this opportunity to publicly apologize to the unfortunate minivan behind me as I crossed three lanes of traffic and careened to the curb in my madness to know: how, oh tell me how, is she doing this?
It’s a cello, people, but that ain’t the half of it. She’s strapped this bad boy to her chest like a mammoth guitar and she is bowing, strumming and plucking the heck out of it, backed up by an equally sublime cast of stringmasters and interestingly, turn-tablists (take note of Matt Glaser’s brilliant fiddle.)
And Mac is just as powerful lyrically. “Pale Reflection”s image of a widower missing his wife over a bubbly sink full of dishes combines with the naturally mournful cello to produce a most compelling and note-perfect tribute. The sizzling “Stumble” is laugh-out-loud brilliant. Delightful jazz piece “Last Resort” displays Mac’s formidable vocal powers. I’m tellin’ you, this woman does it all. She even rants well; see the sultry “Out of Me.” The title cut is a joyous riot of sound, full of vocal and instrumental acrobatics. The sleepy “Drifted” closes out the project intelligently and perfectly.
I can’t rave enough about this dazzling debut, one of the year’s best in every way, with every track a winner. I want to run into the streets and force strangers to stop what they’re doing and listen to this crazy genius girl with her strapped-on cello. Viva la revolution and all things Lindsay Mac.
ALBUM REVIEW: ECTOPHILES GUIDE
Type of music generally: Evocative/eclectic
General comments: Strikingly original and fascinating music.
Release info: Small Revolution; 2005—Red Cello Records—RCR001
Ecto priority: Highly recommended
Cellist and vocalist Lindsay Mac makes a strong debut with this record. She mixes styles and even covers Bill Withers' "Use me" with grace. Her multi-talented approach works wonders. She resembles fellow cellist Jorane in her eclectic approach and Ani Difranco vocally at times. She goes country on one song, funk one and covers many other bases as well. It all holds together well and she can write a good lyric too.
The breakup song "Turn me away" speaks volumes without raising its voice. "Last Resort" takes in jazz and sounds perfectly relaxed but the words have real bite.
This is a fascinating and brilliant debut. (email@example.com).
ALBUM REVIEW: RAMBLES
(Red Cello, 2005)
Lucy lives a mundane modern life, but she remembers her dreams of something better. Lindsay Mac tells her story in the opening track of Small Revolution -- and, I confess, I might have passed it by if it weren't for the gypsy-inflected cello that dips and soars through the music. Lindsay isn't just telling me about Lucy's dreams, she's showing them to me.
After such a good opening, there was no question of handing this disc off to another reviewer. It was a good decision, and Small Revolution remained in my car for several weeks of seasoning before I could bring myself to eject the disc and bring it in for review. I'm sorry for the delay, Lindsay, but I really had no say in the matter.
Lindsay is a dedicated singer-songwriter in a folk-pop vein and with various jazz and funk influences readily apparent. Her voice -- strong, sweet and cynical, and very expressive -- is not her only instrument, however; she adds spice to her arrangements with plucked and bowed cello, an unusual but decisive choice that makes her songs especially fresh. She is classically trained, but delightfully free of musical inhibitions.
With one exception, the songs here are originals, and Lindsay crafts stories and moods that are both entertaining and sophisticated. Lindsay follows "Lucy" with more songs that court a theme of personal freedom. "Use Me," written by Bill Withers, is a funky, liberated approach to sexual gratification ("If it feels this good getting used/You just keep using me/Until you use me up"), while "Nowhere" introduces us to the manager of a remote convenience store who wishes for bigger, better and finer things in life. "Glass Jar" is a confused plea for self-growth: "Your view is from a glass jar/All's clear but you don't see how little you are.../We're stuck inside." On the title track, Lindsay uses a Peter Pan metaphor to take flight from the mundane.
There is romance here, too, and nowhere does Lindsay express it so well as she does on "Pale Reflection." The soft, bittersweet song describes a man whose happy memories of his late wife are sparked by the scent of dish soap -- "So he took a hand of the bubbles he would have placed upon her head/And turned down the lights and danced alone that night instead." Love is, of course, more awkward at its inception, and "Stumble" gives a light-hearted voice to the confusion that walks hand in hand with a sudden new attraction. "Turn Me Away," on the other hand, teeters on the edge of a painful breakup, while "Last Resort" takes a healthier, more emphatic course ("You're in violation of the pact we made in my brain/To occasionally buck up and pretend that you're sane") to the sound of light lounge jazz.
Bassist Jesse Williams leads the way with a strolling beat as Lindsay deconstructs her man with cynical detachment in "Out of Me" ("The way you sit in your chair/The way you think that you seem/The way you order your drink tonight now darling/You annoy the shit out of me"). The final song, "Drifted," combines the themes of freedom ("I've always charted the course less traveled and I've never docked in the bay") with unavoidable romance ("I realize my captain has failed me and I've drifted much too close").
This is good stuff, addictive even, and it reveals the bright star of a new talent on the horizon. With a debut album this strong, I can only imagine how Lindsay's music will evolve by the next one. I'll be waiting eagerly to hear the results.
by Tom Knapp
7 January 2006
STRINGS MAGAZINE FEATURE
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PLENTY OF PLUCK Cellist Lindsay Mac lets her fingers do the talking BY TIFFANY MALESHEFSKI S...PLENTY OF PLUCK
Cellist Lindsay Mac lets her fingers do the talking
BY TIFFANY MALESHEFSKI
Singer and songwriter Lindsay Mac plays her cello like a guitar. No, she really does. A guitar strap attaches at the joint right underneath the instrument’s neck, where the fingerboard hits the body, then loops around the end pin that sticks out about a half-inch, and straps the cello to the 26-year-old’s torso. Then, while standing, the young artist plucks, strums, and pulls the notes from the instrument she once played primarily with a bow. The notes come long and heavy, reverberating through the cello’s body, pushing back against Mac’s small frame.
“It doesn’t hurt. It’s not heavy. It’s really weird,” she explains, during a phone call from a hotel room in Boston. “It’s almost like singing a duet with somebody because it is so resonant. It’s really an incredible experience that I don’t think many instrumentalists get to feel. It’s a much more physical thing.”
Mac ditched the bow in favor of her fingertips almost four years ago, at about the same time she found herself alone and in a contemplative mood in a cabin in the New Hampshire woods. In addition to trying to fi gure out what she wanted to do with her life, the classically trained cellist began experimenting with the instrument she’s cherished since the fourth grade.
What emerged was a radical way to perceive and play the cello, a move that has put her in league with such cello players-turned-singer/songwriters as Caroline Lavelle.
With a resume that is long, lean, and mean, and that lists some of the world’s most prestigious conservatories (Dartmouth College, the Royal College of Music in London, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, to name a few), Mac’s decision to blaze a new path is something that surprises even her. “I had thought I really wanted to make classical cello my career,” she says of her decision to venture into terrain more familiar to folk and pop artists.
She also thought she’d never be a soloist, believing the mold is set for that kind of career when classical players are still warm and snug in the womb. Settling down with a nice quartet or chamber ensemble, for a cellist at least, seemed like the way to go. Yet, it was a prospect that didn’t sit well with Mac, who often wrestled with the limitations she felt playing classical repertoire.
Something was missing.
She often felt caught within an internal power struggle between remaining true to the composers’ visions she had practiced so diligently to emulate, and feeling quite strongly about creating an identity that was hers alone.
“I just wanted to take my love for the cello and put it into a context in which I felt I was really in touch with my muse,” she says.
Mac and her cello soon found a home in rock bands, which led to songwriting. Singing the songs followed suit as did her unusual playing stance. She still fondly remembers the day she dug her nails deep into the heavy strings of her cello. “The rhythm of it just drew me in,” she says. “It felt very primal, to beat the cello and have it respond back.”
So far, Mac’s penchant for pizzicato has plucked the interest of some very influential and renowned players. Her 2005 debut album Small Revolution features not only 11 songs written and sung by Mac, but instrumental contributions by violinist Matt Glaser and cellist Eugene Friesen as well.
Mac’s resume got an even bigger jolt when she opened for renegade country and pop performer kd lang and alt-folk singer and songwriter Catie Curtis.
Once a single-note plucker (a bare-bones approach that allowed her to play and sing at the same time), the singer says her plucking method has evolved into something with much more depth and intricacy.
An Iowa-native, Mac grew up in Iowa City, a rather overlooked arts hub in the shadow of the nearby University of Iowa, and spent her childhood attending concerts, recitals, ballets, and theatrical performances that ran the gamut of styles and genres. Getting that kind of exposure at a young age is what Mac attributes to the restlessness she felt at conservatory and to an intense desire to nurture her individuality. But that doesn’t mean the player has completely abandoned her classical roots in favor of her distinctive and innovative folk-rock sound.
She plays Bach suites several times a week for warm-up (pizzicato, of course) and is devising a way to sing and bow at the same time. “It’s not that I steered away from classical music,” she says. “I steered toward something else.”
(This is one of a series of 20th anniversary state-of-the-arts articles chronicling the interesting people and trends that have emerged in the string world during the past 20 years.)
STRINGS | February 2006
Reprinted from Strings, February 2006, No. 136, © 2006 String Letter Publishing, David A. Lusterman, Publisher. All rights reserved.
MUSICO PRO FEATURE
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MUSICO PRO MAGAZINE - NOVEMBER 2006 (English translation) *************************** THE CELLO...MUSICO PRO MAGAZINE - NOVEMBER 2006
THE CELLO REVOLUTION
In our constant aim to help the many independent artists out there, Musico Pro has developed a contest called Independent Star. We invite you to visit www.musicopro.com to navigate the contest page and to see what the participation requirements are.
This month’s discussion was offered by a very unique artist. Lindsay Mac is an example of ingenuity and perseverance that through the years has exposed her art of passion and conviction. After spending a life studying the cello, she decided that classical music wasn’t for her. In the true creative spirit, Lindsay found a very interesting alternative. She plays the cello like a guitar and sings.
• What can you tell me about the creation of your debut album as an independent artist (where was it recorded, by who, how, when)?
“Small Revolution” was recorded over a period of 5 months and with a lot of generous and talented people who believed in the project. This last point is important because in the “real world” or rather, the non-independent world, the album would have cost 4 or 5 times what it actually did. That’s when you know people are really in it for the music. The guest artists have 2 Grammies and multiple amazing recording credits between the three of them and it was an honor to get to work with such incredible musicians as an independent artist.
The basics were recorded at a small studio in beautiful Western Massachusetts called Silvertone. We then went out to different locations to record the guests artists: Tim Ray’s piano work at his house; Eugene Friesen’s cello in his office, Matt Glaser’s violin and my vocal and bowed cello overdubs at various home studios and rooms in Boston. We did the string section sessions at Silvertone as well as the banjo, guitar and turntable overdubs as well as the mixing. Stephen Webber produced and Mark Wessel engineered.
• What formal music training do you have?
I grew up in the classical cello tradition and went to music schools, conservatories, and camps all based on playing classical music (San Francisco Conservatory, Royal College of Music (London), Interlochen Arts Camp, etc). I love classical music and always will but after dropping out of my second conservatory, I realized there was something missing for me there. For one, I really wanted to sing (and I had never seen a symphony cellist start singing in the middle of a concert…) and two, I really wanted to sing songs that had a modern-day consciousness. In other words, I wanted to make and play the music I was listening to as a young person: rock, folk, pop, jazz, funk, …all of it. At this point I was 20 and I had invested so much of my life and soul into the cello that I couldn’t bear the thought of just putting it down. So, after some time living in a cabin in the woods, I slowly started developing this new way to play the cello – a lot like how you would play a guitar except that the cello sounds so much more primal and thick. Plus, I couldn’t play a damn thing on the guitar so the cello seemed like a good choice. =)
• How about your vocal style (how did you develop your unique voice)?
I’ve never had any vocal training, which, in some ways, may have helped me. It took me a long time to learn how to “let go” with the cello because I had been formally trained in it for so long. That’s never been the case with my voice.
• How do you approach songwriting?
In general, it’s all storytelling. I know some people aren’t as interested in lyrics as they are in music that simply “grooves”, but to me, having both a meaningful and insightful story or idea AND a song that grooves is the ultimate test. To me, you need to get into people’s bodies in any way that you can. One, into their bones with a good beat and memorable melodies, and two, into their head and their heart with sincere poetry.
• What valuable lessons as an independent artist can you share with others in a similar situation?
It’s hard. But if you love it, it’s a lot less hard. I hear a lot of independent artists talking about how being independent is really freeing and that they do it so no one else can control their art. That’s true and that is great but we all still have to deal with the intersection of art and commerce. ‘How am I going to afford pressing more CDs?’, ‘How am I going to pay the rent?’. Perhaps the financial side of things affects independents even more so because little amounts of money mean so much more to us than to huge labels. It’s at once freeing and at once scary to realize that no one’s going to come knocking on your door to demand your next album. I guess what I would say to other independents is also what I would say to myself: The best thing any of us can do is to keep chasing the art and finding what moves us – that’s what will feed us at the end of the day both emotionally and financially. Disingenuous art may sell, but not for very long and it certainly won’t fill me up as an artist.
• Are you shopping for mayor/minor record labels, producers, managers, etc.? If so, what would you like them to know about you?
I’m really glad I have spent a good couple of years being an independent because it makes me confident that any of the labels, producers, etc approaching me are doing so because they understand something about what kind of artist I am. I played 200 shows last year, sold thousands of CDs from the stage and am easily paying my bills without a label deal PLUS I’ve gotten to form my image and what I’m about on my own terms. That being said, my god!, an entourage of well-qualified, passionate supporters would be great. I fully understand it takes a team to help an artist move to the next level and I’m excited about finding the right people.
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