Dave Mackenzie "plays solo acoustic country blues like nobody's business."
Dave MacKenzie was born in St. Louis and went to school in Iowa, Colorado, Germany & Mississippi before graduating high school back in St. Louis. Inspired both by Elvis and the folk boom of the 50's, he got his first guitar at age 10, first heard the blues (a Lightnin' Hopkins record from the local public library) at age 11, and played his first professional gig at age 13 at an NCO club in Germany.
"That gig with the NCO was the first time I'd ever performed a song I'd written in front of people; since then, whether it was the honky-tonk band I played with in Mississippi when I was 15 or any of the folk groups or top-40 bands I was in through the rest of school, I've always made it a point to try to sneak in one of my own songs. After a visit to Memphis, when I got to meet Bukka White, Furry Lewis and Sleepy John Estes, their encouragement helped me get up the nerve to try my luck in Chicago."
Dave moved to Chicago in 1972 and began working in local clubs, eventually ending up in larger concert venues as the warm up act for Muddy Waters, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker and dozens of other blues and rock 'n roll headliners. "I had a great time in Chicago; I got to meet a lot of my musical heroes, I started playing out all over the country and having other people record my songs. Among the people who recorded one of my songs was David Soul (from Starsky & Hutch) who offered me a publishing contract as a staff songwriter, which is why I moved to L.A. in the winter of '79."
In addition to his songwriting activities in L.A. (his tunes were cut by Soul, David Bromberg, gospel greats Edwin & Tremaine Hawkinsand the rock band Jackal. Dave continued to do club and concert appearances and began to work as a studio musician, which led to his becoming a music producer for radio and TV commercials and to writing scores for independent films.
"I got to do a lot of pretty cool stuff in LA. I was the blues guitar instructor at McCabe's guitar shop, I gave a lecture series on the history of pre-WWII blues at Santa Monica City College and I put together a band to back up Hank Ballard & the Midnighters that included Cornelius Bumpus from the Doobie Brothers and my good friend Alex Schultz who later played with the Mighty Flyers. Eventually though, I got tired of the rat race in L.A. and I wanted to concentrate more on the country blues which had inspired me to play in the first place. Also, I just got homesick for the south."
Dave moved to Nashville in '89, where he immediately began getting work in clubs and as a session player. After starting his own label, Hey Baby! Records, in '93, Dave put out 2 CDs: Rats in my Bedroom and All New Slender Man Blues. They were both nominated for Nashville Music Awards and received excellent reviews in the US and Europe.
This led to his first European tour in '96; he's since returned every year to play major blues festivals such as Kiel (Germany), Utrecht (Holland) and Brugge (Belgium) as well as scores of concert & club dates and radio and TV appearances. He's been included in several European blues compilation CD's and his most recent album Old, New, Borrowed and Blue was issued by the Dutch/Belgian label Black & Tan to universal critical praise in Europe and the US.
When not on tour, Dave continues to perform at Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar in Nashville's famous (notorious) Printer's Alley. Continuing his work as a songwriter, Dave's tunes have been recorded by James Armstrong, Microwave Dave, Maria Muldaur, blues legend Johnny Jones and dozens of local and regional blues bands. His work as a session player led to his appearance as a special guest on the platinum-selling Jeff Foxworthy album Crank it Up.
A two-time recipient of the Music City Blues Society's Acoustic Blues Act of the Year award, Dave regularly participates in their Blues in the Schools program and conducts demonstrations/lectures at the Country Music Hall of Fame on the history of metal-bodied dobros and early roots recordings.
"I keep pretty busy. I work as a regional blues act here in the south, I do shows and guitar master classes in Europe, and, every now and then, I'll drag out one of my electric guitars and back up somebody like Homesick James or Sam Moore from Sam & Dave. Being a blues player will never make you rich, but if you do it right you can have a pretty good time."
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