Making The News
The Montery County Herald
Pickin' The Blues
Guitar Mac plays the Blues on a "steel guitar" to the Garden Stage audience at the Monterey Bay Blues Festival.
Rear View Mirror Guitar Mac and the Blues Express at Picnic in the Park on 4 April 2007 .
by John Hulsman
Guitar Mac and the Blues Express were set up next to a large patio with tables, chairs and the beer and wine concession, and across the park lawn from the Farmers Market shelter with its farmers, merchants and food vendors. The Blues Express was Rick on guitar, Tammy on bass, and Eric on drums. There was no sound system, just the amplifiers for the bands instruments. True to his name, Guitar Mac had five guitars (that I could see) - everything from a steel hollow body to a rectangular solid body reminiscent of Bo Diddleys guitar. For the most part Guitar Mac played slide guitar - not the Roy Rogers style of maximum notes in the minimum time, but a style with a slower blues feel sho nuff. The play list spanned the blues genre from Robert Johnson to Jimmy Hendrix and included quite a few Elmore James and Jimmy Reed songs, yes, yes. Some songs were played to the traditional arrangements while others were played to the bands own arrangements. Id say that feelings are mixed regarding some of the bands arrangements, but they do get one to give the songs a fresh listen. Rick played at least one extended solo in each of the three sets while Guitar Mac took the tip jar through the audience. The size of the audience impressed me. The lawn and patio were filled with a cross section of the Davis population (and a few interlopers). There were several toddlers and preschoolers, brought by their parents or grandparents, jumping and turning to the music a new generation of dancers learning to appreciate the blues. Two adult couples danced near the beer and wine concession for a time, but the Picnic in the Park is mainly a place to kick back and enjoy food, drink, good weather, great company and good music.
- By Andy Grigg
It's very easy to complain about a situation that bothers you, but it's another thing altogether to do something constructive and productive and positive to change whatever is that's "not right." Those people, who take it upon themselves to be the catalyst or leader in a situation where both hard work (often thankless) and imagination are in demand, are to be admired, comended and hopefully copied by others. Guitar Mac has become known as the very vocal and very visible leader in the movement to promote and preserve blues music in the Sacramento area of California.
A relatively young man by blues standards, Mac has a unique understanding and appreciation of the blues that few of today's younger blues artists can lay claim to. Mac was born and raised in blues country; rural Arkansas, at a time (1950s) when blues music was at its peak as a past time and a form of entertain-ment. Having experienced first-hand the country juke-joints and the hard life that made those jukes an essential outlet for Black Americans in the South, Mac was also witness to the whole l960s; the "decade-of-change" that ushered in Civil Rights, Soul Music, Black Power and a total change in attitude towards blues music by Black America.
Now, in the l990s, things have come full
circle it seems with today's African-Americans wanting to study and even embrace the music
they had dis-missed and rejected ten years ago. Guitar Mac has worked diligently over the
last 20 years to build his own career, but one can quickly come to the realization that
Guitar Mac has been working even harder for the greater good, the 'Big Picture' - the
future of the blues. His love for the blues transcends any ego related career promotion.
His work in schools with the children, his concert festival organizing and especially his
blues radio shows all show his desire and dedication to ensure that blues is understood,
accepted and ultimately revered as the single-most important music form in American
AG: Where were you born?
Please See the current copy of "Real Blues" Magazine for the full article.