Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Oct 01st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Stand by Your Mac

music_LindsayMacOne singer-songwriter doesn’t take her cello sitting down

Lindsay Mac is about to get on a flight. Leaving her home in Cambridge, Mass., the 31-year-old singer-songwriter has booked herself a seat to fly out to the West Coast for her latest tour, which comes to Don Quixote’s on Monday, March 8. Next to her on the plane won’t be a band member, a stranger or, thankfully, a crying baby. “Cello Mac,” as she refers to her instrument of choice when giving it a passenger name for a plane ticket, gets to join the compartment for human bodies.

“Now that oversize luggage is charged so ridiculously it’s not nearly the savings it was to check my cello in,” she begins, “so buying a seat for it is worth it.” While giving her cello an assigned seat is normal during her travels, onstage it’s a different story.

Known for her unusual stand-up style of strapping on her cello and wearing it at an angle more like a guitar, Mac ditches a chair and a bow for a fingerstyle pluck and prod and strumming that give her full-bodied instrument a textured percussive sound. Standing up frees her to move dynamically around and also lets her breathe in at maxiumum capacity to extend her vocals to the greatest degree. It’s definitely odd—you’d think a future sponsorship by Advil for backaches would be in the cards—and she didn’t start out performing this way.

Veering off the well-trodden classical path, it was, ironically, Mac’s experience studying at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music that made her realize she wasn’t destined to be one piece of a chamber orchestra. At the time, the Iowa native was listening to pop music outside of school, and classical music “didn’t feel intimate or vulnerable enough for me. I didn’t feel like I was being released as an artist, I felt like I was trying to do something perfectly.”

After witnessing a performance by Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky and Richard Shindell, and being moved by their power in words and melody, Mac found herself gravitating toward the singer-songwriter route. “They were writing about their life, pain and happiness,” she remembers of the trio. She knew then and there that she wanted to do the same. Still, being a devout cellist made her question whether she could make that path a reality. So, she went to Berklee College of Music to try out jazz:

“I thought maybe I’d split the difference and become a jazz cellist because I knew of a few people doing that. But when I went to Berklee it didn’t pull me emotionally like the songwriting did, so it morphed.”

Since 2005’s debut, Small Revolution, and 2008’s Stop Thinking, Mac has “morphed” into what she initially thought might be impossible: an emotive folk-pop solo singer-songwriter. Though sticking to the cello has ultimately given her a niche that catches curious eyes, she was always wary of just being a novelty act or a “stupid human trick.” So, to remedy that fear, she says she worked hard to craft songs with lyrics that envelop the listener through all their senses—to “make sure the art behind [standing up with a cello] was something I was proud of.”

Surely her folk singer-songwriter aspirations must have made her consider ditching the untraditional cello for something like, say, a guitar?

“There was a moment,” she admits. “But the cons of me switching to guitar really outweighed the pros. I was going to be really bad, really far behind, and I wasn’t going to be able to bring my authentic voice to the table. By that point my artistic voice was invested in the cello—it was in my soul.”

And, as it turns out, playing with a cello has other advantages. Even though it’s a burden to lug her massive apparatus on planes, Mac says there have been some unforeseen perks.

“The plus side is that I get frequent flyer miles for it, which is really great. And then I love it when the American Express credit card offers come in the mail addressed to a Cello Mac!”

 


Lindsay Mac performs at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 8, at Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. Tickets are $10. For more information, call 603-2294.
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Reflecting Glass

Composer Philip Glass’ first trip to Big Sur was by motorcycle; little did he know that he’d establish a music festival there six decades later.

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wurst Case Scenario

Venus Spirits releases agave spirit, Renee Shepherd on planting garlic, Sausagefest 2014, and wine harvest in full swing

 

Do you think you are addicted to technology?

Santa Cruz  |  Unemployed

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”