Bill MacKay is a guitarist, composer, singer and improviser based in Chicago. 

A renowned solo artist and accomplished collaborator with projects that include solo albums Esker (2017), Fountain Fire (2019) and Locust Land (2024), and recordings with cellist Katinka Kleijn (Stir, 2019), Nathan Bowles (Keys, 2021), and Ryley Walker (SpiderBeetleBee, 2019), all released on Drag City Records, MacKay has pursued his musical investigations with obsessive rigor.

A deep radiance envelopes even MacKay's most dissonant explorations, and his trajectory travels seamlessly from the avant-garde to folk modes and further. In his music, tradition is invited to be reinvented. 

MacKay is also a poet, visual artist and polyglot, and is a member of both the avant-garde rock outfit Black Duck (with Douglas McCombs) and the experimental groove-drone project BCMC (with Cooper Crain). 

Among other publications, his work has received praise in the Washington Post, Chicago Reader, New York Times, Mojo, Uncut, Downbeat, Paste, Pitchfork, and NPR.


Recordings / Buy

Bill MacKay - Locust Land (Drag City, 2024)

BCMC (Cooper Crain/Bill MacKay) Foreign Smokes   (Drag City, 2023)

Bill MacKay and Nathan Bowles - Keys (Drag City, 2021)

Bill MacKay - Scarf (Drag City, 2020)

Bill MacKay and Katinka Kleijn - STIR (Drag City, 2019)

Bill MacKay - Fountain Fire (Drag City, 2019)

Bill MacKay & Ryley Walker - Hypnotic Pulse of the Reindeer Range (JMY, 2017)

Bill MacKay and Ryley Walker SpiderBeetleBee (Drag CIty, 2017)

Bill MacKay - Esker (Drag City, 2017)

Bill MacKay - Sunrise/Bill MacKay plays the songs of John Hulburt (Tompkins Square, 2015)

Darts & Arrows - Altamira (ears&eyes records, 2015)

Bill MacKay and Ryley Walker - Land of Plenty (Whistler Records, 2015)

Bill MacKay - Chatham Park (2014)

Bill MacKay and Matt Lux - December Concert (ears&eyes records, 2014)

Darts & Arrows - Eyes of the Carnival (2012)

Bill MacKay and Darts & Arrows (2010)

Broken Things - Swim to the River (2007)

Bill MacKay & Sounds of Now (2005)


Black Duck - Black Duck (Thrill Jockey, 2023)

Harry James - Harried (Potions Music, NYC, 2022)

Ryley Walker - So Certain EP (Husky Pants, 2022)

Bill Callahan and Bonnie Prince Billy - Blind Date Party     (Drag City, 2021)

Steve Gunn - Other You (Matador, 2021)

Ryley Walker - Course in Fable (Husky Pants, 2021)

Bevel - Angler Senses (Astral Editions, 2021)

Friend/Enemy - HIH No/On (Joyful Noise, 2020)

Ryley Walker - Deafman Glance (Dead Oceans, 2017)

Matthew Golombisky's CUENTOS Vol. 1 & 2 (ears&eyes records, 2017)

Flux Bikes / Sueñolas (LAKE PARADISE RECORDS, 2016)

Angela James - Drink and Try not to Cry (Whistler Records, 2014)]

Never Enough Hope - The Gravity of our Commitment (Milk Factory Productions, 2015)

Angela James - Way Down Deep (2014)

Judson Claiborne - We Have Not Doors You Need Not Keys (La Société Expéditionnaire, 2013)

Dmitry Samarov - The Blue Light and other things that happened (2013)

Walk East / Walk East (2012)

Conrad Frieburg - The Undecagon (2010)

Paul Justin Mooney - Because of a Woman (2010)

The Postman Delivers: A Chicago Musician's Tribute to John Prine (Lost in America Music, 2010)]

Colorlist - Photographs (OFF! Records, 2008)

Who Cares How Long You Sink Folk Forms Evaporate Big Sky (Terry Plumbing Records, 2007)

Colorlist - Lists (OFF! Records, 2007)

Bud Melvin - Escape From Eden (2006)

Savoir Faire - Running Out Of Time (Delmark Records, 2005)


Various Artists - Warm Violet (2020) A Benefit for Chicago Community Jail Support

Stay Tuned: Season 2 (Perpetual Doom, 2022)

Various - Drag City artists Uncut Magazine / Covermount CD (2020)



Published Writings