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Snapshots: Bill MacKay @ Rhizome — 6/6/24

Small venues can serve as a sanctuary of sorts for well-known musicians who prefer to step off the beaten path to play the most intimate of shows and connect with people in a comfortable setting.

There’s perhaps none in DC better suited to host such a relaxing and comfortable engagement than Rhizome, the community-operated arts space snugged in Takoma.

Rhizome, it turns out, is a favorite stop for Bill MacKay, a prolific guitarist, singer, composer, and writer based in Chicago and a respected member of the Drag City roster.

MacKay just a few weeks ago released his newest work, an absorbing and expansive solo recording titled Locust Land. Out to promote the record in humble fashion, MacKay lined up a series of recent appearances at nooks throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

The night of June 6, he visited Rhizome, a spot that makes him feel at home.

“It’s great to be back at Rhizome again,” MacKay told those gathered last Thursday in the first floor living room; some folks watched from the kitchen, others from the adjacent hallway.

Listen to the new album from Bill MacKay, Locust Land, via Spotify:

Before his set, MacKay shared that his pieces are written to be, at their foundation, a lot like folk songs that he can perform by himself.

Stripping away some of the layers on his latest recording, he offered natural takes on the intrepid title track and a few others like “When I Was Here” and “Half of You.” He opened the set with “Flight Logs” — a piece he created for a 2020 documentary with the same title, but that has yet to be released — and “Arcadia,” a gripped rumination from his 20219 album Fountain Fire.

With a short but compelling set, MacKay casually showcased his ingenuity and expansive vision as a composer as well as his uncommon expression.

“A holy space. A sacred space. A temple,” he added more praise for Rhizome. “Thanks for coming out.”

Bill MacKay setlist

Flight Logs
When I Was Here
Half of You
Locust Land
Keeping In Time
Arcadia

Below are images of Bill MacKay, as well as Catherine Sikora & David Menestres and Dave Heumann, performing at Rhizome on June 6, 2024. All photos copyright and courtesy of Casey Ryan Vock.

Bill MacKay

Bill MacKay @ Rhizome Washington DC 06.06.24 Photo by Casey Ryan Vock

Catherine Sikora & David Menestres

Catherine Sikora & David Menestres @ Rhizome Washington DC 06.06.24 Photo by Casey Ryan Vock

Dave Heumann

Dave Heumann @ Rhizome Washington DC 06.06.24 Photo by Casey Ryan Vock