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Bill MacKay's Solo Guitar Fades Quickly, Beautifully On 'Twilight'


Bill MacKay's new album, <em>Esker</em>, comes out May 5.
Maren Celest, Courtesy of the artist
Bill MacKay's new album, Esker, comes out May 5.

Bill MacKay's become a stealth fixture on the Chicago music scene over the last decade and change. The guitarist deftly glides through folk, experimental rock and jazz in his band Darts & Arrows and has worked with everyone from Fred Lonberg-Holm and members of Bitchin' Bajas to a blossoming creative partnership with with Ryley Walker — they released an album of guitar duets in 2015.

Esker is the newest solo effort from MacKay, a rich and easygoing reminder that the American guitar tradition is a vast and detailed one. Both Chicago-style and desert-swept blues, western swing, Americana and a little bit of ambient Appalachia are woven throughout its tracks. Here's "Twilight," a modal tune in the bluesy Takoma Records style that's in and out in two minutes, a satisfying sunset to end the day.

Esker comes out May 5 on Drag City.

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