local music scene south carolina
It never ceases to amaze me, just when I think I know about all of the relevant and truly important music or artists that come from South Carolina she takes me back to school. I heard about Wes Mackey through our very own Blues Goddess Ms. Clair DeLune, (side note: must get list of local blues legends from Clair because, well - SHE WROTE A BOOK ON THE SUBJECT!). As I began researching Wes Mackey I was surprised at how flexible his style seems to be. As a guitarist myself and a lover of traditional blues I quickly noticed his playing style was not really traditional by way of Big Joe Turner but more like BB King – very smooth, contemporary, and tasteful in delivery which I personally like in my players. And of course I was not prepared for the hip hop rap crossover work Wes has recently done with Canadian producer/artist Remi “Cityreal” Huot. Two artists from opposite ends of the spectrum and yet the sound they are creating together is seamless and absolutely incredible in structure and delivery. If you don’t take anything else away from this page do yourself a favor and check out their video below then go out and get the release “Good Morning Blues”.
Born and raised in Yemesse, South Carolina Wes Mackey has over 50 years in music. He went from working the dusty honky tonks of Georgia to performing in five star venues, festival and concert stages around the world including places like Iceland, Russia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and many others.
Born December 12, 1942 he learned to play the guitar from the seasoned old blues players of the South. At the urging of his father he eventually left “Big Estate” in rural South Carolina and moved to Augusta, Georgia where his career really began.
His first gig paid 50 cents and a chicken sandwich but soon he found himself working in bands that would back up touring artists including Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, Stevie Wonder and many others.
While he has attained some recognition abroad as an independent artist it has been challenging to garner the same attention in the US. After years of being a sideman Mackey’s journey took him to Canada where he developed a diverse and interesting career that gave birth to his eclectic take on the blues.
Even today at 74, Wes Mackey’s career continues to evolve. He recently began doing more workshops and presentations based on the storytelling tradition and the reviews have been phenomenal. After years of experimenting Mackey feels he has found his niche and is looking forward to bringing it with him on the road.
In 2003 he put out his aptly titled album Second Chance, and followed it up with the equally excellent Mr. Blues in 2006. His dynamic stage presence and uplifting performances finally caught the attention of European promoters and made him a favorite in Europe where he has toured and performed countless times.
Wes released two more albums, Beyond Words in 2009 and his latest Life is a Journey has also received outstanding reviews including a 4 star rating from iconic French magazine Soul Bag and “Highly recommended” says Blues Magazine, a very nice blues album. Songs with personal lyrics, about Mackey’s look at the past and the future.”
Quick Press Quotes:
He has that rare quality only truly great artists have: to create an immediate and unforgettably intimate connection with his listeners...
Maxwell Cafe Paris
...a reminder that the blues is not about being down on yourself, it's about using the music to lift your spirits and celebrate life.
See Magazine Edmonton
Wes Mackey is a showman, charming and charismatic, he captures the audience.
Peppermint Blues Belgium
Wes Mackey becomes Honorary Citizen of Provence, France
WCMA Music Video Nomination Good Morning Blues with Cityreal
4 Time Semi-finalist International Songwriting Competition
Nominated 2011 & 2012 Jus Blues Music Foundation Best Male Contemporary Blues Artist