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Brooklyn, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Brooklyn, NY | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Alternative Indie




"Ticket To Play: B.R. Mackie joins Newport Folk lineup via Converse competition"

Each week, bands and artists roll into Rubber Tracks Studio at Converse’s Boston headquarters to record new music. But it’s rare that a trio of artists will do so fresh off the stage from Newport Folk Festival.

But that’s what in store for Boston string player Sam Moss and a pair of Brooklyn-based performers, Australian-born “folkedelic” player B.R. Mackie and Swiss-born blues-folk artist Sam Himself. The trio will record here in town with Rubber Tracks after being selected as winners of the “Converse Rubber Tracks x Newport Folk Festival Recording Week” competition, collaborating with producer and sound engineer Dave Minehan the week of July 25 to 30.

But first, they’ll all play Newport Folk this weekend, and be paired up with another Newport artist for a set on the Museum Stage. On Friday, Mackie will team up with Elvis Perkins; on Saturday, Moss hooks up with Rhode Island ensemble Good Friends And The Music of Providence, which features members of Deer Tick, the Low Anthem, and Smith & Weeden; and on Sunday, Sam Himself joins Larkin Poe.

Last year’s winners in the inaugural “Converse Rubber Tracks x Newport Folk Festival Recording Week” were Honeysuckle, the Ghost of Paul Revere, and Ancient Cities.

Catch a preview of each 2016 artist below, and go here for the latest schedule of events and performances at Newport Folk Festival. - Vanyaland


Just over fifty years ago, Bob Dylan went electric at Newport Folk Festival, and just as Dylan is still going, so is Newport Folk, which has kept up with the times, and the good times return to Rhode Island Friday-to-Sunday, July 22nd-24th:


Fort Stage

Flight of the Conchords, 6:15 PM – 7:30 PM

“New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo a-cappella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo,” Flight of the Conchords (QRO live review) is Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, musical comedians who found great acclaim in the States thanks to their HBO series and albums Flight of the Conchords (QRO review) and I Told You I Was Freaky (QRO review). After the series ended the Conchords went their separate ways, Clement appearing in movies (Dinner For Schmucks, Men In Black 3, Rio) and McKenzie writing music for movies (The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted). But recently the two have reunited behind a big tour – but where’s manager Murray Hewitt?… Flight of the Conchords
Ray LaMontagne, 4:40 PM – 5:50 PM

He may be soft-spoken, but singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne is one of the finest voices in today’s alt-folk scene. He’s also impressively successful, charting in the Billboard Top Twenty with his last four studio albums, most recently this year’s Ouroboros. Ray LaMontagne
Violent Femmes, 3:10 PM – 4:10 PM

The New Wave that acts like The Talking Heads ushered in back in the eighties saw a number of ‘geek rock’ outfits grab the listening public, from They Might Be Giants (QRO live review) to Violent Femmes (QRO photos outdoors), who hit it big in 1983 with the self-titled debut and singles such as “Blister In the Sun” and “Kiss Off”. Follow-up records didn’t find the same success, and the band went on numerous hiatuses/break-ups. Drummer Victor DeLorenzo left in 1993 only to return in 2002, but the biggest split was between singer/guitarist Gordon Gano and bassist Brian Ritchie over Gano selling the rights to “Blister” to be used in a Wendy’s commercial in 2007. A lawsuit ensued, and this break-up seemed to be for good, but this year they’ve somehow reunited again for another run at the festival circuit (QRO photos at a festival), though DeLorenzo’s left again, to be replaced by Brian Vigilione of Dresden Dolls (QRO photos with Vigilione at a festival). This year they even released a new album, We Can Do Anything (QRO review). Violent Femmes
St. Paul & The Broken Bones, 1:55 PM – 2:45 PM

From Birmingham, Alabama, St. Paul & The Broken Bones (QRO photos at a festival) bring the true southern soul. They come to Newport Folk after the release this year of their sophomore record, Sea of Noise. St. Paul & The Broken Bones
The Staves, 12:40 PM – 1:30 PM

Folk-rock trio of sisters The Staves (QRO live review) hail from Watford in the south of England, but have since made it to the majors on Atlantic Records.


Amasa Hines, 11:30 AM – 12:15 PM

The Staves

Quad Stage

The Arcs, 5:35 PM – 6:35 PM

Everyone knows The Black Keys (QRO live review), one of the biggest rock bands in the twenty-first century. Singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach has long done his own side things (QRO solo album review), most recently with his new band, The Arcs (QRO photos), who came out with debut last fall, Yours, Dreamily. The Arcs
case/lang/viers, 4:10 PM – 5:10 PM

A great new team-up for a new millennium, case/lang/viers combines three great alt-folk songstresses, Neko Case (QRO live review), k.d. lang, and Laura Viers. case/lang/viers
Matthew Logan Vasquez, 2:50 PM – 3:45 PM

The frontman for the impressive Delta Spirit (QRO album review), Matthew Logan Vasquez comes solo to Newport Folk – as well as playing Sunday as part of Middle Brother (see below). Matthew Logan Vasquez
Raury, 1:35 PM – 2:35 PM

Mixing soul, hip-hop, and folk is Atlanta’s eclectic Raury. Raury
Basia Bulat, 12:25 PM – 1:10 PM

Canadian songstress Basia Bulat (QRO photos) brings her autoharp and records like 2010’s Heart of My Own (QRO review), 2013’s Tall Tall Shadow, and this year’s Good Advice to Newport Folk (QRO photos outdoors). Basia Bulat

Wild Child, 11:15 AM – 12:00 PM – QRO photos at a festival

Wild Child

Harbor Stage

Brett Dennen, 5:05 PM – 6:05 PM

Northern California pop/folk singer Brett Dennen headlines the Harbor Stage behind his sixth album, this year’s Por Favor. Brett Dennen
Radical Face, 3:45 PM – 4:40 PM

One half of superb indietronic duo Electric President (QRO album review), Ben Cooper does the solo alt-folk thing as Radical Face (QRO album review), having just finished his third of his The Family Tree releases. Radical Face
Aoife O’Donovan, 2:25 PM – 3:20 PM

Aoife O’Donovan fronts the progressive bluegrass/string outfit, Crooked Still, is a part of female folk-noir trio Sometymes Why, and worked with everyone from Jerry Douglas to Yo-Yo Ma. Aoife O’Donovan
Fruit Bats, 1:10 PM – 2:00 PM

Singer/guitarist/pianist Eric Johnson may have been known for being part of indie-rock hits The Shins (QRO live review, with Johnson), but for well over a decade he’s had his own folk-rock outfit, Fruit Bats (QRO photos at a festival), who recently put out his latest, Absolute Loser. Fruit Bats

Freakwater, 12:00 PM – 12:45 PM

JP Harris, 11:00 AM – 11:40 AM


Museum Stage

Motel Song Swap, 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Converse Rubber Tracks, 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

On Friday at the Museum Stage, Converse Rubber Tracks welcomes singer/songwriters Elvis Perkins (QRO live review) and B.R. Mackie. Elvis Perkins
For Pete’s Sake, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM

When legendary American folk musician Pete Seeger (QRO photos at a festival) passed away (QRO R.I.P.), the country lost one of its greatest voices for the dispossessed, and one of the greatest folk musicians ever. At the Museum Stage at Newport Folk, the festival honors him by bringing together musicians to perform in his memory.

Hosted by Chris Funk, Friday features Mariachi Flor de Toloache (QRO photos), Bryan Bowers, Tim Erikson, and Hanz Araki. - QRO Magazine

"Northside Festival: 7 Soulful Indie-Folk Rock Sounds"

1. 'Thirsty' by B.R. Mackie from In Folkedelic Country:
B.R. Mackie details the difficulties of the struggle of life and the ease of quenching one’s thirst the old fashioned way – through a bottle. However, the heartfelt vocals note that giving in to the thirst for the bottle will just leave a person lonesome. - Punchland

"Get to Know Brooklyn-Based Artist, B.R. Mackie"

B.R. Mackie is smart, funny, passionate, talented, and handsome. This Melbourne-transplant traveled throughout the United States and landed in Brooklyn. As he traveled, he felt immersed in inspiration and the only way to share what he felt and saw was through music, and just like that his debut album, ‘In Folkedelic Country’ was born. Well, maybe not just like a snap of the fingers, but with a deeply introspective and intrinsic travel experience and writing process.

It all started when he was six and his dad got him an old classical nylon string guitar for Christmas, “I loved that old thing and played it until the bridge broke right off” recounts Mackie. He learned to play his first riff that same night at his nan’s house. It was Nirvana’s ‘Come As You Are’, a favorite of beginning guitarists (it’s like two chords). Then, at the age of 13 he formed his first band with friends from the small town of Leongatha in South Australia, where he is originally from. The Melbourne music scene drew him to rock music, he said: “There were so many amazing bands coming out of the city at that time-I wanted so badly to be in Melbourne among it all.” With drive and passion, he landed himself in Melbourne with his band mates after they finished high school.

Fast-forward to 2013 and B.R. Mackie started making a name for himself in the Brooklyn music scene. He finds inspiration in local artists like, Big Thief, EZ TV, and Mail the Horse, just to name a few. In addition the Brooklyn bands, B.R. Mackie looks to such artists as Dylan, The Band, Townes Van Zandt, Big Star, Jeff Tweedy, and Neil Young for insight in addition to gratitude for helping shape him as a person.

B.R Mackie’s debut album ‘In Folkedelic Country’ is a he puts it: “ a stream-of-conscious love letter to the United States.” While living in Australia, he was always intrigued with American culture. It wasn’t until he traveled to the United States that he had “ a real eye-opening experience.” B.R. Mackie eloquently spoke about his experience; “I was blown away by the beauty of this place. Everything changes so much state-to-state, city-to-city, both scenically and culturally. When listening to his debut album, one can feel the influence of the United States as each song is different and unique, yet some how united in soul.

After his travels through the country, B.R. Mackie found himself in New York City yearning to express the way the experience affected him; “The only way that made sense [was to express it] through song.” Cut to the album title ‘In Folkedelic Country’. It is an ode to folk music in the United States, a time when folk music outlined the beauty of this country through each verse sung and each cord strung. Mackie’s nouveau-folk music is a modern-Melbournish adaptation of American folk music, through the eyes of someone experiencing this land for the first time.

Focusing on the simplicity of the music, without the bells and whistles, B.R. Mackie recorded his album in his bedroom, which doubled as a recording studio. This true renaissance-man wrote, produced, and recorded ‘In Folkedelic Country’ with a little help from his friend in Melbourne. Tom McGrath added some bass, lap, and keys parts from halfway around the world. The challenge of inter-continental song recording was alleviated about halfway through the whole process, Mackie explains: “While I was in town (Melbourne) for a wedding, Tom and I had a few days to record some extra parts, which really helped breath new life into the songs and another layer to the record.” He also faced the challenge of creating an album with a full band sound, while being a single-recording artist. Mackie expresses the challenge by stating: “So I picked up a $30 drum kit on Craigslist and began transforming songs I’d previously only played on acoustic guitar into full instrumentation, and then reinterpreted them a third time for a stage.”

The writing process for B.R. Mackie is slightly less organized and freer flowing than his recording process. He can’t simply sit down with the intention of writing a song, for Mackie it needs to happen more organically. When discussing his unconfined writing process, B.R. Mackie states: “Something just sort of clicks. That’s my favorite thing in the world, when a new song is forming.” The opposite can be said for his lyrical writing process; Mackie explains: “The opposite’s the case for the lyrics. The music will play a part in shaping the mood and general these of the lyric; but I take a lot of time writing and re-writing each line until I’m satisfied they stand on their own and contribute to the larger narrative.”

Definitely check out B.R. Mackie at one of his upcoming shows, where he says, ”Honestly, playing live is where I feel the most at home, the most comfortable in my own skin.” He brings the same energy, concentration, enthusiasm, and passion to each performance whether he is playing for two people or two hundred. You can also check him out before each show where it looks like he’s praying, but in reality he is meticulously playing with the effects pedals to create that unique sound of his. - Muse Unrestricted

"Converse Selects Three Emerging Artists To Perform at This Year's Newport Folk Festival"

Converse Inc. has announced the three local artists chosen to participate in the second annual 'Converse Rubber Tracks x Newport Folk Festival Recording Week.' This special weeklong residency offers three aspiring artists the opportunity to record for free at the state-of-the-art Converse Rubber Tracks recording studio in Boston, and perform at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival. Local artists of all ages and genres were invited to apply, and the following three Boston and New York-based acts were selected: B.R.Mackie, Sam Moss and Sam Himself.

From Monday, July 25 to Saturday, July 30, each artist will record original music at Converse Rubber Tracks in Boston, and will be given unlimited access to some of the most innovative technology and recording equipment in the New England Region. Artists will work under the guidance of lauded producer and sound engineer, Dave Minehan, who has served as a long-time guest engineer at Converse Rubber Tracks in Boston, including a short residency overseeing sessions with international bands from China, South Africa, and more during last year's Converse Rubber Tracks global studio takeover. Following each session, artists will retain all rights to their work.

In addition to two full days of free recording time, the selected artists will also be featured on this year's Newport Folk Festival lineup, performing on the Museum Stage throughout the weekend from Friday, July 22 to Sunday, July 24. Founded in 1959, the Newport Folk Festival is known as the 'granddaddy of all American music festivals,' featuring both established artists and young indie acts across a mix of genres that celebrate American music.

Born out of the desire to give back to the global music community and encourage creativity in 2011, Converse Rubber Tracks continues to seek out opportunities to provide resources to emerging artists around the world who may not have the means to afford studio time. Offering valuable recording time at state-of-the-art studios with a team of experienced engineers at no cost, Converse has brought the Converse Rubber Tracks experience to over 1,600 emerging musicians in vibrant cities worldwide, including San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Austin, Toronto, Montreal, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Mexico City, Barcelona, and many more. - What's Up Newp


2016 - In Folkedelic Country 

2017 - Negativity Spiral

2018 - New Record TBA



Australian-born, Brooklyn-based songwriter B.R.Mackie has played some of North America's most acclaimed musical gatherings, including showcases at SXSW, Newport Folk Festival, Brooklyn's Northside Festival, the CMJ Music Marathon, and Canadian Music Week Indie Week in Toronto.

2017 saw the release of Mackie's EP 'Negativity Spiral', three tracks of swirling, echo-drench, lo-fi folk-psych rock, recorded in Boston with David Minehan of The Replacements

Mackie is currently working on a new album in his DIY Bushwick recording space that's set for a mid-2018 release. 

Band Members