Live at the WC Handy Blues Fest
Dave MacKenzie Survives Lung Cancer, Releases DVD 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. 'The first time I played in front of people for money I was 13; I got the gig by playing a song I wrote. From then on, whether it was a folk group or a top 40 band, I always made it a point to sneak in one of my own tunes.' 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 and Tremaine Hawkins and the rock band Jackal), Dave produced the score for a handful of independent films as well as radio and TV commercials. He also worked as the musical director for the legendary Hank Ballard & the Midnighters. "I got to do a lot of pretty cool stuff in L.A., the most important of which was meeting and marrying my darling wife, Adie Grey. Eventually though, I got tired of the rat race 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. He and Adie started their own label in '93. Dave's Cds, "Rats in my Bedroom" and "All new Slender Man Blues' received excellent reviews in the US and Europe which led to a series of overseas tours. 'I played a lot of festival and concert dates over there and did some radio and TV shows, mostly to promote an album called 'Old, New, Borrowed and Blue' which came out in '99 on a Dutch label. Now I've re-issued it on Hey Baby!, so people here in the states can finally find it.' Dave's tunes have been recorded by James Armstrong, Microwave Dave, Maria Muldaur, and blues legend Johnny Jones: 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 the Blues in the Schools program and does demonstrations/lectures at the Country Music Hall of Fame on the history of metal-bodied dobros and early roots recordings. Dave's fourth album, SOLO, was released in April 2003; popular music magazine Guitar One says "MacKenzie struts his stuff like a modern-day Robert Johnson..." "My last trip overseas was in'03 when I did a gig in Paris as part of a review for Sam Moore of Sam and Dave. Since then, I had been mostly doing festivals here in the states, including King Biscuit, Western Maryland and Springin' the Blues in Florida but I had a set back at the end of last year when I developed a rare form of lung cancer. The good news was that, unlike most people with lung cancer, I knew about it early, got treatment and surgery, so now I'm cancer free. Unfortunately, it damaged nerves in my left hand so, for the time being, I can't play guitar.' Some more good news is that Dave's performance at the 2004 WC Handy Blues Fest was taped by KET for their Jubilee! TV series and is now available as a DVD from Hey Baby! Records. So, until he's ready to come back in person, you still have a chance to see him play 'live'. In the meantime, Dave continues to write songs and celebrate being alive.
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