Bill MacKay is a Chicago-based composer, improvisor, guitarist and writer. He has created an extensive body of work in the experimental folk, rock, avant-garde, and jazz diasporas. 

MacKay’s blissful harmonic control and outside-the-box guitar mastery are one with his compelling songwriting, and his creative voyage and imaginative influences are fully displayed across his discography. 

His recent recordings include:  Keys (2021) with Nathan Bowles, Scarf (2020), STIR (2019) with Katinka Kleijn, Fountain Fire (2019), SpiderBeetleBee (2017) with Ryley Walker, and Esker (2017), and were released by Drag City. 

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


Recordings / Buy

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)

Various Artists - So Many Singing, Vol. 2 - A Compilation To Benefit Immigrant Rights (2019) [RUINATION RECORD CO.]

MOJO Magazine presents Green Leaves / Nick Drake Covered (2018)



Published Writings