- Reviews of Solo -
July 2003 - Frank-John Hadley
MacKenzie shows so much empathy for country blues doing his tradition-bound songs and his adaptations of Muddy Waters’ “Too Young To Know” and Sleepy John Estes’ “Little Laura” that you have to wonder why this singer/guitarist/dobro player isn’t better known. Maybe it’s because the Nashville picker puts perfecting his art before self-promotion.
July 2003 - Dave Rubin
The Nashville cat plays solo acoustic country blues like nobody’s business on this excellent set of mostly original tunes. His wood, steel, and 6- and 12-string guitars display maximum warmth and resonance. MacKenzie struts his stuff like a modern-day Robert Johnson on “Two Drags”.
Reviews of Old, New, Borrowed & Blue
Whether covering the songs of his blues heros (Arthur Crudup, Muddy Waters, Furry Lewis, Sylvester Weaver) or singing one of his lyrically fascinating originals (try Preachin' to the Choir or Girlfriend Blues' tale of sapphic betrayal),singer/songerwriter/ acoustic guitarist Dave MacKenzie plays and sings with an easy and unassuming style that belies his mastery of pre-war blues guitar, both slide and picked. MacKenzie's skill with the Robert Johnson cannon (Me and the Devil) is far better than most, and Jet Lag Johnson (a darkly hillarious musician's lament many will be familiar with) is just one of this disc's vignettes portraying life on the cusp of the new millennnium. If you like Roy Book Binder Old, New, Borrowed & Blue will be in your CD player a lot.
Dave Mackenzie is extremely comfortable with the old ways. His sterling Old, New, Borrowed & Blue spotlights just 6 strings and one voice, recorded live at The Nest, Nashville, TN. Though he does a Furry Lewis cover and a few more oldies, the meat of this release is MacKenzies easy-rolling originals, sung in a weary voice a la J.J. Cale and loaded with poor man's poetry. MacKenzie's sharp wit is sometimes turned on himself. After he cuffs a few notes on one cut, he says, "This is the kind of guitar playing keeps Chet Atkins up at night...laughing like crazy." But if you ain't Atkins you're liable to find MacKenzie a spirited player and singer who mesmerizes throughout this truely fine set.
Dave MacKenzie chops a lot of sound out of an old acoustic, and Old, New, Borrowed & Blue (Black & Tan Records) rings with pure six-string joy. The rhythm section bookmarks MacKenzie's nimble chords and licks without smothering them; his singing leaps above the mix. Best Cut: the medley of Steel Guitar Rag and I'm So Glad.
Reviews of All New Slender Man Blues
This CD like Dave's previous release "Rats In My Kitchen", carries the following warning on the CD case: PURIST WARNING: This album contains some songs which are not blues, but don't let this put you off, because although Dave plays a variety of Southern roots music, it will all have appeal to most blues lovers and especially those whose particular preferences tend to the acoustic based styles of the genre. The first thing you notice about Dave is that he is a superb guitarist, whether on acoustic, electric or slide, and mandolin (all of which are featured on this CD), with a penchant for story telling in his often wry and humorous lyrics, which at times are so entertaining you either don't notice or forget that a particular song is not a straight blues. The first track "Start the Party" does exactly that, a real swinger that features elements of jazz and Western Swing with Dave's superlative guitar picking propelled by the excellent rhythm section of Oscar R. Veterano (guitar), John Vogt (bass) and Paul Griffith (drums), and doesn't ease up until the final track "Sure 'Nuff Shame" (a shame that it finishes so quickly), a song that draws its influences from a wide eclectic base but is highlighted by some great guitar picking, Blind Boy Fuller style. In between we are treated to some stunning slide and mandolin on "Slender Man Blues", a song that extols the virtues of the tall, scrawny lover when it says "If you want to find the sweetest meat, you got to get right down to the bone", which mixes Muddy and Yank Rachell replete with Hammie Nixon style harp (another of Dave's multi-talented facets), the swinging N'awlins styled "Honeymoon Mambo" with more of that haunting slide and Longhair styled piano from the Rev Billy C. Wirtz, the late night feel of "Blues Give A Lesson" with Dave's understated guitar meshing flawlessly with Wirtz's mellow piano and the Yank Rachell styled "What She Like To Do" where Dave bemoans the fact that "what she likes to do all night, takes me all night to do". If you take heed of the purist warning and give this CD a miss, you'll be missing out on a real treat from an artist who is a songster in the old tradition, based in the blues but primarily an entertainer, able and willing to play whatever the situation and audience demands.
All New Slender Man Blues
This creator and performer of boogie\rag has his etiquette: "Purist
warning: this album contains some songs which are not blues." One
understands this attitude, which treats friends to guitars (acoustic
and electric), slide, mandolin, backed up by bass, drums and piano
if need be, is far from being sad or congealed in the fillets of grilles.
As a signer and instrumentalist, Dave is strongly honest in a domain
already saturated by affectation.
Reviews of Rats in my Bedroom
"Boy is this music refreshing! Take my word for it - if you like country blues with a sense of humor, you'll love this." - Blue Suede News
"Hard to pick a fave - his 11 originals are so consistently
crafted, accessible and credible. . . it's a jukebox hoot."
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