It’s Lou Reed-Meets-Passenger, as Singer-Songwriter Brian Mackey Delivers a Smart, Aggressive Collection, Fueled by Personal Loss and an Unexpected Sense of Liberation - 'Broken Heartstrings' is Out 11/10
(Published: October 29, 2014)
It's Lou Reed-Meets-Passenger, as Singer-Songwriter Brian Mackey Delivers a Smart, Aggressive Collection, Fueled by Personal Loss and an Unexpected Sense of Liberation
CMT Edge Premieres Travelogue Video for Focus Track ‘America'
Soaring Guitars, Cinematic Landscapes, Tension and Wit Combine on Impressive ‘Broken Heartstrings'
Singer-songwriter Brian Mackey delivers a smart, aggressive collection on ‘Broken Heartstrings', out November 10th. The album, two years in the making, mines Mackey's recent personal losses, some of which he shares in his notes, below, some of which he keeps closer to the cuff, allowing the private experiences to fuel his songs. He comments, "A lot of loss went on around me during the entire process of making this album, both negatively and positively. The name of it came about from my need to break away from an oppressive relationship that tried to make me feel guilty during the entire time. I decided that it would be appropriate to name this new release "Broken Heartstrings". Not that my heart is broken - just the opposite; the bond has been broken, the stuff that holds you back, a liberation, a new beginning."
‘Broken Heartstrings' is filled with stylistic twists and turns. Whereas the focus track, ‘America', suggests a country-rock travelogue, ‘Captain of the Moon' shifts to a seriously cool Bob Dylan/Lou Reed vibe; then ‘Desire' surprises with its killer electric guitars - evoking an indie rock, almost AAA, R.E.M. landscape. ‘Rich Hearts Lullaby' has a cinematic, John Ford weight to it, and ‘Medication' conveys real dramatic tension...Mackey's wit comes home on ‘Ohio' and ‘Philadelphia'...via ‘Ohio's' wildly unexpected sonic shift a minute or so into it, and ‘Philadelphia's' Beatles-esque opening, followed by a rant...a clever juxtaposition by the singer-songwriter. He closes the album with the lush ‘Are You Listening'.
Prior to the November 10th on-sale date, a discounted pre-sale will be available on iTunes, as of November 4th.
CMT EDGE Exclusively Premiered the video for ‘America':
If you're going to make a video for a song called "America," you should go right to the source. That's the concept behind Brian Mackey 's newest music video. The footage stretches from Seattle to Seaside, New Jersey, with a few nice shots in Nashville to boot.
Over six days, Mackey and director Nick Cavalier captured the feeling of an awesome road trip with perhaps just a few potholes. Luckily, his blend of pop, country and folk music doesn't get lost along the way. Most of the footage is filmed from the viewpoint of his trusty (if not rusty) 1997 Toyota.
"Certain things were planned, and certain things we got just by being in the right place at the right time, like the horses and the guy on the yellow motorcycle with the flags," Mackey tells CMT Edge. "Part of the thrill was not knowing what we might find. We wanted it to have that ‘you're-seeing-it-for-the-first-time-with-us' look, and I hope that we accomplished that."
The impassioned track can be heard on the New York songwriter's first full-length album, Broken Heartstrings. Produced by Sam Ashworth, the set was recorded in Nashville and arrives on Nov. 10. Take a look at "America," then read the CMT Edge Q&A below the video.
CMT Edge: What were you thinking about leading up to the writing of "America"'
Mackey: I was thinking whether or not my car that I had bought from a neighbor (for a couple of hundred bucks) was going to make it to a show I had in Kansas. While I've been on many road trips on the way to shows, this one with the uncertainty opened up a special appreciation for the ground I was rolling on. Each new gas station felt like a milestone.
I came across some kids pulling corn in a Radio Flyer wagon in Iowa, crossed rivers with bridges that looked like they were built with metal from factories that had been closed long ago. I had this rhythmic melody in my head like a train moving on. There was one time when hail was hitting my window, and it sort of provided a backbeat for me. It seemed like everything about that trip really wrote the song, and America sang in my ear.
In this video, the camera rarely stays in one place for too long, and I know the same can be said for a musician's life. What is a typical day on the road for you'
Wow, isn't that the truth' A typical day on the road would always consist of stopping some place cool to eat. You know that type of place - where only locals go. It's always interesting to see what kind of hotel I get because I usually book it through some kind of online service that doesn't let you know what it is until it's booked, so that makes it somewhat interesting. I'm huge on getting to know the areas where I'm going to be spending time exploring and learning about the towns and places if I can. It's always a good subject of conversation when I'm onstage.
Tell me a little about the acoustic arrangements in the song. Those parts stand out to me. Why was it important for you not to go full-power all the way through'
The acoustic arrangements, I felt, would be the most integral driving force of the song. When I originally wrote it, it was just an acoustic song, so I wanted to stay true to that feeling and try to capture that as best as I could. We used two guitars - a Martin and a Gibson. The banjo that came in later was not my idea at all but was a very welcomed surprise when Jeff King said, ‘I got an idea on this ...' and it really completed what we were looking for.
What goes through your mind when you watch the completed video now'
I'm like, "Hey, I remember that guy on the yellow motorcycle on Route 80 who didn't know he was being filmed at first, but when he did realize it, he played to the camera." Or going into Philadelphia in August when the AC stopped working in the car, and we were all getting a little pissed off. I could go on and on, but the thing that stands out most was how connected it made me feel to the road and to the summer-scorched cities and cornfields of America.
Mackey will celebrate the November 10th release with a worldwide, online StageIt concert - login to https://www.stageit.com for more details.
Album and Song notes, by Brian Mackey:
This album was a culmination of conclusions that arrived without thinking, which were emotionally verbalized without speaking. A lot of loss went on around me during the entire process, affecting me both negatively and positively. The name of it came about from my need to break a bond that was holding me back; a relationship that tried make to me feel guilty during this entire time. I decided that it would be appropriate to break that bond, calling this latest release "Broken Heartstrings"; not in the sense that my heart is broken, just the opposite - the bonds have been broken, the stuff that holds you back, a liberation, a new beginning.
I figured out where I was going, and needed to break all ties that held me on and kept me going back. Many distractions came up, not only on my end, but in the producers' lives and it seemed like it would never get completed. We worked through it all on site in Tennessee and from New York until we were happy with the results. It wasn't all unicorns farting rainbows making this album, but we did finally achieve our ray of sunshine.
The song choices that I made didn't come from a "I-thought-this-would-be-a-hit" angle. They were more personally motivated. "Captain of the Moon" was actually a song I wrote a few years ago, and played it during a break in the studio. I was told it should be recorded and I took that into strong consideration. I couldn't get it out of my head, so I had to include it.
"Are You Listening" is a song that I felt was really necessary for this album, because it wrote itself from a place I never knew existed and gave me hope to continue on the journey.
"Medication" is a track that helped me look at myself and the neediness for the wrong person. I used prescription pills to bandage my nerves so it was healing for me to include this one as well.
"Philadelphia" was written in the shower after a conversation with a friend about her arrogant and elitist friend who made her upset, so it was my "wink" to her.
"Desire" made its way on here by way of "just-had-to". I felt it perfectly explained the "unicycle-on-ice" ride I was on.
"Rich Hearts Lullaby" was written about a girl I'd pick up at her house with a crummy old truck that leaked oil onto her Dad's driveway. We did our best to hide the stain, but overtime I saw him look at me like he knew it was my junk that put it there.
"Ohio" is a song that was sparked by a memory of the weather that I experienced while in Ohio in the winter. I'm still traumatized.
"The Day" is a journey into my world, completely inspired by wrong. It helped me put a voice to everything I never said to a person that destroyed things just because she could.
Learn more about Brian Mackey's career, here:
More Information: http://www.brianmackeymusic.com