“...I find that, while you latest album has a more evident Celtic feel, "Grand Promenade" is more oriented toward the classic" style of the best American singer-songwriters working in the Americana field. But both have very subtle arrangements and contain fine songs sung by a sweet and beautiful voice!
More songs from both the albums will surely be on air in the next weeks.
--Massimo Ferro, Radio Voce Spazia, San Michele (AL) Italy
For over 15 years, Maggie McKaig has remained one of my favorite musicians and songwriters. Unceasingly original and provocative, the landscape of work is unfailingly refreshing and thought provoking."
---Carolyn Crane, Radio Journalist
“Absolutely beautiful instrumental work, especially the guitar.”
--Steve Baughman, musician, Mel Bay Celtic Guitar author)
"Maggie and Luke are two of the finest folk musicians, singers, and songwriters performing today."
"Your music... It's beautiful!"
--Donna Konsorado, musician and music promoter, Lentzville, Vancouver Island, Canada.
Responses from promoters and audiences from the "Pacific Prairie Tour 2006":
"World class music!"
--Tom O'Hara, owner Stage Door Cafe and Cabaret, Mount Shasta City, California
"You guys sound great. Tell me when you'll be back."
--Sunny Jaynes, Mississippi Pizza Pub booking agent, Portland, Oregon
"We definitely want you back next year..."
--Inger Jorgensen, booking agent, A Midsummer Dream Arts and Music Festival, Ashland, Oregon.
--Ariella St. Clair, booking agent, Ashland, Oregon.
"Your music is fresh and forward! A wonderful concert"
--Debra Ward, artist, Calgary Alberta, after the Perrenoud Ranch Solsitice Festival.
"I heard only wonderful reports on your set. I hope you'll be back another year!"
--Carole Weatherall, artistic director, North Country Fair, Alberta.
"That night was so magical. It was all that I hope the holidays and solstice to be, but often aren't. An incredible spirit of warmth, joy and community pervaded the room. The music was fabulous. Thank you for that!"
--Maxima Putnam Kahn, Grass Valley, CA
New for 2007:
Maggie is also now performing with Native American flutist/singer/songwriter Mary Youngblood and Sisters of the Earth throughout 2007. Mary just won her second Grammy for her CD "Dance with the Wind" in the Folk-Native American category. She is also nominated for a number of 2007 Nammy awards.
In the latest recording Maggie did with Luke Wilson and Michael Zisman, the 2006 release "Storm Sessions", Scottish fiddler/oboist Murray Campbell joins the band in a typical Maggie blend of original and tradtional Celtic, folk, folkrock, gypsy, and whatever else she took a notion to.
The most recent news for the band, who are currently working on various individual projects, while also thinking out their next CD (Maggie is writing up another storm) is the number of radio stations across the North America and in Europe who are playing cuts off of the new CD "Storm Sessions". "Christmas Bells" was in the top ten requested tunes on RTW Radio Teutoburger Wald in Germany in December. And now three of the other cuts are getting alot of very nice response, such as "Emotional and produced perfectly. First-class acoustic music." . And many radio stations all over the U.S. have requested copies of "Storm Sessions", as well as "Grand Promenade".
All of this far flung interest in a little band from Nevada County California was generated when the CD caught the attention of Kentucky based Poetman Records. "Christmas Bells" is track 12 on the 2006 October release of the "Acoustic Rainbow Sampler". Poetman Records is the creation of Michael Johnathon, host of Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour. Over 400 radio stations have been playing "Christmas Bells" on the air, and many have requested copies of the whole CD.
McKaig, a fifth generation Californian of Russian and Scotch Irish ancestry, is known for her intricate guitar work, and creating powerful performances. Her musical background is eclectic, from over twenty years of intense study and performance with master musicians and dancers from Brazil, Hawaii, Japan, Spain, Mexico, Africa, East India, Ireland, Scotland, the U.S. and Canada, due to her work in musical theatre. She has directed/and or written over 40 plays at last count. On theatrical stages she has performed on gamelon, various Asian instruments, accordion, piano, ukulele, and many types of percussion instruments. McKaig has also taught guitar at Alasdair Fraser's Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling Camp.
All of these experiences of course synthesize into the songs and music she writes today. Because she hates being stuck in any one category, if pressed she will in all seriousness describe her music living in the realms of Acoustic Folk Celtic Russian Muzurka Country Jazz influences.
....Wow! Maggie's Great! Enjoyed this album (Grand Promenade) very much. It has elements of bluegrass, folk pop and art rock as well, blends of Gordon Lightfoot, Emmylou Harris, Peter Gabriel, Joni Mitchell and others, all woven into a well written and well performed original package. Thank you Maggie!
Reviewer: Bobby Rivers, from CD Baby site)
Luke Wilson is a very, unique Canadian banjo /dobro /lapsteel/ cittern player. He is a master of improvisation. His banjo playing has long been compared to Tony Trischka and later of course to Bela Fleck. After years of playing around Southern Ontario where he grew up, he left Canada with fellow Canadian Ron Paul Morin and moved to England in 1970. They went on to Italy after freezing for a few weeks in England. They were known initially as Jesse and Luke. As soon as it warmed up they went back to England. After lots of street busking and playing in small clubs they were "discovered", and recorded an album for Capitol Records, "Peaceful Company". It is a very classic looking double cover of the times, with beautiful photos of the "boys". By that time they were Morin and Wilson. They sounded a bit like Simon and Garfunkle. In a Canadian sort of way. After realizing that they had seemingly signed away any shred of artistic freedom for their next album on the "contract", the two young musicians ran away from the deal. They were Canadians, eh? They understood integrity. Somewhat disillusioned with their first taste of the big time, Luke and Ron eventually went their separate ways. Luke returned to his home country seeking more musical adventures. And he found many.
In Canada, he decided to take up his grandfathers occupation, and studied to be a luthier in Toronto while continuing to develop those musical skills honed on the streets of Rome and in the London recording studio. He managed to impress everyone who heard him, and performed with many Toronto musicians. Eventually he moved to Calgary. Once there, he opened up a guitar shop called "Player's Custom Guitars" which became quite the hub for musicians in Calgary during the late '70's and early '80's. During the years in Alberta he performed with many of Canada's great folk, country, and jazz musicians including Ian Tyson, Valdy, Diamond Joe White, Ken Hamm, Ron Casat, Peter Marley, Miles Jackson, and he was in great demand as a session player the nine years he lived in Calgary. Luke put together and played with a number of musical ensembles while in Calgary. The first band was called Buckdancer's Choice, with Richard Gullison and Camilla de Crespigny. One of Luke's favourite groups he played with was the legendary Calgary dance band the Backline Orchestra, which consisted of himself, Ron Casat, Ray McAndrew, Bill Eaglesham, and Gary Bird.
The multi-instrumentalist Luke was also the hired gun at the Edmonton Folk Festival in 1983-'84, for anyone who needed an accompanist. He took the banjo into music where it had seldom been heard. He fondly remembers an Edmonton workshop where John McKuen was asked if there was any type of music banjo did not belong in. John answered "Blues". Luke was just about to take the stage with country blues player Ken Hamm. The audience loved it. Meanwhile, back in cow town, Luke met Maggie. Maggie was riding horses, milking cows, playing in a country band called "Calico", studying classical guitar, and getting thoroughly thrashed trying to keep up with her friends on the non pro rodeo circuit. After a year long courtship Maggie and Luke moved into a little house on the prairies together. They vowed never to play music together, however, as most couples they knew who did that broke up. Luke started a band called Lost in the Colonies. The concept of the band was to play improvisationally as much as possible. At least fifteen different musicians were on call for any gigs that might come up. People loved the band. On a certain gig, Luke couldn't get a guitar player. So somewhat hesitantly he hired Maggie and prayed this did not mark the end of the end of their personal relationship. They had fun, and continued on playing together.
They made their first recording together, also called Lost in the Colonies, in 1983, recorded and engineered by Don Pennington at CBC studios in Calgary. Since moving to the U.S.in 1985, Luke has lent his talents to performances with Alasdair Fraser, Utah Phillips, Saul Rayo, Peter Wilson, and many others. He continues to do today what he has been doing for over forty years, splendidly fusing "...old time country music, bluegrass and jazz in a free wheeling and unique manner." (The Albertan, November 1, 1977) Over the past fifteen years, he added Celtic, eastern European, and World to that mix.
From a busy career in the late 70's through the mid 80's playing festivals and clubs across Canada as "Lost In The Colonies", McKaig and Wilson also raised two wonderful sons. Eventually they moved to Northern California where one grandma lived, to create a more settled life for the boys. They stopped touring due to family demands, but their performances in Northern and Central California continued to garner appreciation, whether as "Celtic Wonder Band" or as some variation of Maggie and Luke "...The Maggie McKaig & Friends night at Cooper's Thursday was standing room only. Congrats to such terrific performers." (Pam Jung, December 29, 2005, The Union Newspaper ) Their sons now grown, they've recorded three CDs in the last four years. Their most recent CD, "Storm Sessions", was recorded with well known San Francisco jazz bass great Michael Zisman, and from Scotland they have Murray Campbell on violin, oboe, and English Horn. A very accomplished group overall.
The talented Zisman completed his studies at William Patterson College in 1989 under the direction of Todd Coolman and Rufus Reid. He then moved to New York City where he lived until moving to the Bay Area in the year 2000. "Z" has performed with Jazz leaders such as; Cecil Payne, Junior Cook, George Coleman, Harold Maybern, Clark Terry, Eddie Henderson, Jerome Richardson, Benny Golson, Tootie Heath. He also performs with some of the Jazz stars of the future such as; Eric Alexander, Jim Rotundi, Joe Farnsworth, Steve Davis, David Hazeltine, Anthony Wonzy, Steve Wilson, Mike LaDonne and others. Aside from performing, Michael was the Faculty Director at the Stanford Jazz Workshop for ten years until March 2006. He is the creator and editor of "The Real Easy Book", a fakebook and resource text for beginning improvisers and music teachers, that was published by Sher Music in 2003. Zisman also continues his busy performance schedule with some of the finest artists in jazz. He first met McKaig and Wilson in 1986, and loves to play with them whenever he can.
"A master of his instrument's melodic aspects. Singing along quietly with his solos, Zisman displayed a seemingly endless supply of improvisational brilliance, creating long, fluid lines that were full of beauty and surprise."
- All about Jazz, Forrest Bryant...
--Storm Sessions. Check out selections from this wonderful new CD on this site!--
--Small Wonder. 2004 (self produced)
--Grand Promenade. 2003 (self produced)
--Lost In The Colonies. 1984 (Produced by CBC. Engineered by Don Pennington at CBC in Calgary, Alberta.)
--Peaceful Company. Luke Wilson and Ron Paul Morin. 1971 for Capitol Records. London, England.