There are places that become pillars of a city, that write its history, that draw its colors, which constitute its deep breath. Big Mama is one of them. Born thirty-five years ago in a basement of Trastevere, it built its path on the notes of the best blues and international rock, hosting great artists, from Chet Baker to Pino Daniele. And this is where Italian singers have stumbled timidly, on their first steps, who would later grow up to become stars like Alex Britti and Giorgia, proposing that rhythm’n blues that made them known to the Roman public. The strength of Big Mama is all here: knowing how to combine great names on the international scene with unknown artists, thanks to that rare mix of courage and musical intuition that is necessary to know how to choose the rising stars of tomorrow.
And it is in this historical and at the same time innovative place that Brian Mackey, one of the most interesting rock voices in the United States, performs for the first time in Rome. Songwriter, guitarist and pianist, he grew up surrounded by music, with a grandmother who was a pianist in local clubs and a mother who was a songwriter and playwright. Since he was a child, playing for him has been as easy as breathing. And just to play, he travels around the States washing dishes in restaurants during the day and playing in bars at night. Thanks to an on-the-road training, he has built an unmistakable style, characterized by a soft, warm, flexible voice that slips on pop rock sounds with elegant modernity.
Most of his songs are autobiographical. It almost seems that he uses the experiences he lives on his skin, or that he sees around him, as a painter would use colors to paint his canvas. Songs that are little stories, in which Mackey tries to dig into the darkest recesses of his soul, to make truths as simple as bread emerge.
Mackey claims to be inspired by anything, a perfume, a conversation with an old friend, a TV show, the intersection of a look. His songs express a refined balance between thought and emotion, inhabited by a vein of tender romanticism.
On April 17th, Brian Mackey proposes his repertoire, ranging from the nostalgic “Honest Love” to the gloomy “Color Blue”, from the itinerant “Out on the Road” to the sentimental “Painted Red”, without forgetting his latest single “Do Not Own Much ”, third in a series of singles from his next album mixed by sound engineers Joe Zook and Brian Malouf. On stage with Mackey there will be Leonardo Caucci Molara on the piano, Alessandro Sanna on the bass and Andrea Ruta on percussions.
Wednesday, April 17th, Brian Mackey. Big Mama, vicolo San Francesco a Ripa 18 Rome. Tel. 06 5812551.
Photo credits: Brianmackeymusic.