Wes Mackey
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Wes Mackey

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Band Blues Soul

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Exactly one year ago Wes Mackey was a guest in the French part of Belgium, for three gigs, one of them in Gouvy. there are only two gigs on on the present tour in our country….
The born in South-Carolinan Afro-American musician Wes Mackey accompanied blues icons Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and half a dozen more (in back up bands in Augusta Georgia in the 60’s). For some time he disappeared from the music world for a number reasons and settled in Vancouver (Canada) He is a sympathic man and he just keeps rolling along. His schedule is well filled and many of his gigs in Hotels/Ressorts bring in the money..
This not so well known or some say would almost unknown artist, impressed the audience enormously last Thursday. You have to know that on stage he is combining three disciplines: singing, playing the bass line with his feet and also playing guitar! He plays a Fender Jaguar, a guitar that made it’s name during the sixties under ‘The Surf Rock Bands’ It later lost a little of it’s reputation, but because of it’s tailed bridge or floating bridge generates a lot of upper tones it was in in the spotlight again during the ‘Grunge’ period, with groups like Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr.
The Bass tones come out a Roland PK-5, that Wes is playing with his feet. This gig was not only nice to hear but was also nice to see as he acted out each song.. Left of Wes was Simon Shuffle ‘Boyer (FR).on the drums and ‘the midfield was taken by Wes dressed by the way in a nice handmade suite and black hat., He sat on a black leather chair, surrounded by two amps, the foot pedal bass and a mike. Right of him is Vincent Buchet (FR), who played mouth harp and accompanied on most of the songs.
We are here this evening enjoying this musical event. Philippe who is not a guy who speaks too much, but does have a nose for finding quality and talent certainly has here. The gig is is nicely divided in two sets and in between a break, where the artists take time to talk with the audience.
To make a list of all songs would take too much paper but many of his songs can be heard on his CD’s (Second Chance and Mr. Blues) The next one is entitled Beyond Words’. However I would like to add that songs like ‘Mr. Blues’, ‘Who Do DA Voodoo’, ‘I ”LL Play The Blues For You’, and ‘Georgia On My Mind’ grab you by the throat.. It was also nice to hear him talk about ‘Lucille’ when he started to play ‘How Blue Can You Get’ adding that his guitar answers to the name of ‘Mable’. The highlight is a medley, where he starts singing One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer, where (the non drinker) sings One Non Alcoholic Beer instead.. After a second ecore he closes with ‘Wonderful World’ and receives a rousing round of applause.
A high score for this gig, played in a great location to an attentive listening audience,
- Bobjte Blues


Wes Mackey¹s appearance ..was refreshingly old-school. With hotshot, flavor-of-the-week guitarists always passing through, it was good to finally attend a show where Hendrix was neither mentioned nor covered. Patrons who jammed the bar called ³topos² on this rainy Saturday night proved there¹s still an audience for electric blues in the traditions of Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, and John Lee Hooker. Mackey, who hails from South Carolina, now plies his trade in Vancouver, British Columbia, and was making his first foray into this region of Europe. He¹s been around long enough to have performed in his youth with Waters, Reed, and Hooker, and he name-checked each of them during a pair of one-hour sets. Though he relied just as heavily on covers as those who pillage the Hendrix songbook, Mackey¹s trio managed to give the familiar postwar blues a fresh makeover. The evening began on an autobiographical note with the swinging ³Born in Carolina.² His playing polished but not flashy, Mackey played seated and nimbly supplied his own steady rhythms on a set of bass pedals. He wore a cordless headset microphone in stark contrast to his pinstriped suit and porkpie hat...
hat. Saxophonist Stefan Meister displayed tasteful chops as drummer Andy Brugger ably held the beat. The trio carved a relentless groove as the attentive, boisterous crowd spurred them on. Prone to improvisation, Mackey¹s own boogie ³Who Do Da Voodoo² veered seamlessly into Hooker¹s ³Boom Boom...
Mackey¹s singing was mellow and sincere, and his ³no effects² approach to the guitar let his fingers do the talking. After two rousing encores, Mackey essentially had to beg the audience to let him leave the stage in order to partake of what he called his ³fun beer.² He¹d earned it.
Vincent Abbate

- Blues Revue


(Condensed and Translated from French)

June 2006

Only 1300 people live in Lamanon,France and this blues concert attracted an audience of more than 800 people. Sam Taylor who was originally scheduled to headline had taken ill and ike some kind of a "blues angel" Wes Mackey came especially from Canada to take his place and save the day

Bearing a physical and sometimes musical resemblance to John Lee Hooker he was the benefactor of the evening. He sat on his metallic case bearing blues globe trotter stickers saying "fragile". Always smiling, this guy,seems to be willing to share his good humour.

The artist takes his shoes off and at the risk of looking like the fool he shows the amazed audience a pair of black and white polka dott socks that smatch his tie and suspenders. If I dressed like that, I would look like a clown but on Wes, it's really smart ... perfectly elegant! With subtle guitar playing, full of boogie, of swing and feeling. the voice of an angelic crooner combined with the surrealist foot playing on the bass pedals…I have to ask myself if I am hallucinating! How is it possible to sing so well, have a perfect guitar playing, to play bass with his feet, keep keep smiling and ultimately to share his obviuos joy for life ? Wes Mackey is a phenomena and a new mystery we'll have to clear up.

This strange bluesman with heart has no limit. He does not fear making his songs last more than 10 minutes, each time with more emotion and intensity. However the man didn't come alone. He was backed by the reputatable and excellent harp player Vincent Bucher and Christophe Gaillot , an exceptional drummer.

With slow blues and more up tempo music reaching Chicago blues, Wes Mackey is a showman.
Charming and charismatic, he captivates the audience with both original titles and covers « Who Do Da Voodoo », « Ain't That Good News », « Rock Me baby ».. thenon to a very sensual cover of « One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer », « I'll Play The Blues For You », Everyday I Get The Blues » « Nothing But the Blues »and more..

The legendary song « A Change Is Gonna Come , sung for the second time that evening, becomes the hymn of Lam' du Blues 2007.

And as a party can't be lived alone, Wes Mackey invites openers the OC Blues Band for a jam playing "Caledonia", the Louis Jordan R'n'B title written in the1940's. .

Energy, rising emotion, the enthusiasm of the artists only grew as the concert neared it's end.…

For the finale Wes Mackey plays "Baby What you want Me to do",originally done by his spiritual master : Jimmy Reed

This gamble paid off it seems. For Lamanon and for Wes. After the concert, we questioned the audience and they told us to date, 2007 was the most exceptional show ever for Lam' du Blues.

David Bascunana - Peppermint Blues


Discography

Bluesman 1994
Second Chance 2002
Mr. Blues
Beyond Words 2009

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Bio

With more than 45 years in music he learned to play the guitar from the seasoned old blues players of the Deep South where he was born and raised and he is glad to have been part of that great bygone era. He spent many years on the road as a side man and in his early years he played in local bands that backed up the greats like Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, Stevie Wonder and many others.

For some time Mackey stayed “under the radar” playing all types music but he emerged with a unique style and perspective and eventually took front and centre. His dynamic stage presence and uplifting performances have made him a favourite in Europe where in 2006-2008 he has toured four times.

He is now working on his fourth CD Beyond Words