Patuxent CD-343 The John and Wendy Mackin Band - From the Archives
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In 1950 Mac Martin assembled his Dixie Travelers, western Pennsylvania’s first bluegrass band. Seventy years later Mac remains Pittsburgh’s beloved north star, inspiring and encouraging a constellation of countless musicians and fostering a community now spanning three generations. For thirty years John and Wendy Mackin and their fellow traveler, former Allegheny River Boys mandolinist Mark Yacovone, have beautifully made manifest Mac’s enduring bluegrass ethos; steeping themselves in the type of repertoire that first guided Mac and Dixie Travelers Billy Bryant, Mike Carson and others, while also embracing Mac’s affable and sincere manner in performance and on their recordings.
They affirmed their approach on their wonderful 1996 Moonlight Night recording with their first selection, Floyd Tillman’s “Why Do You Treat Me This Way?” It was a creative lovely homage to the Dixie Travelers who had recorded it on their 1963 Gateway label LP. John’s vocal performance honored Mac, underscoring Mac and John’s mutual affinity for Lester Flatt’s iconic singing style. Wendy’s playing showed her mature absorption of Earl Scruggs’ and Billy Bryant’s playing, and Mark’s likewise for Bill Monroe, Frank Wakefield and Buzz Busby. This reveals the genius of bluegrass, providing creative artists like the Mackins freedom to interpret and make their own way in the tradition.
Culled from 1990s live and studio recordings, From the Archives is a thoughtful, long overdue follow up to Moonlight Night, embodying all that many of us have been fortunate enough to witness and cherish about Western PA’s Dixie Traveler bluegrass style. Thanks to John, Wendy, fiddler Jack Mackin, Mark Yacovone and bassist Purvis Jackson for gifting us this enriching and spirited set, bursting with integrity and imagination.