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***BILL MACKAY is a musician and a musician’s friend—a genial guitarist / composer / improviser based in Chicago who has energized the experimental folk, rock and avant scenes around town with his polyglot approach to the guitar, combining the folk of Appalachia, the blues and gospel with rock, jazz, western-country and an array of eastern modes. Over the past decade-plus, he has recorded records for Tompkins Square, Whistler, Relay, and ears&ears, both as a solo artist and with his band Darts & Arrows, while performing and collaborating with a number of other artists. Bill’s most recent album was Sunrise, in which he examined the songs of John Hulbert, whose 1972 private-press classic Opus III reflected a uniquely mid-western hybridization of finger style and city blues playing. MacKay’s interest in this tactic—essentially, a personal blending of roots elements—has evidenced itself throughout his discography. On Esker, his third solo work, Bill takes it further with an album of all-original material performed entirely in consort with himself. Playing all the parts with guitars, glass slide, bass, piano and percussion, he deepens his hybrid-genre approach with both contrast and cohesion, creating warm, melodic narratives that draw on folk, psych and experimental rock modes. (STREET DATE - 5/05/2017)