Santa Cruz Good Times

Monday
Sep 15th
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

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

A Different Revolution

Aries Moon late Wednesday and Thursday. We think new thoughts and initiate new ideas. Sun in Virgo with Saturn in Scorpio help disciples to create orderly structures to anchor and bring forth new ideas. Stabilizing Taurus moon Friday and Saturday. We anchor new ideas into form and matter, like seeds planted in the soil. We tend them, waiting for green shoots to emerge. Like the gestating Virgo Sun Madonna, awaiting the birth of the holy child, the Soul, the new light at winter solstice. Mercury and Chiron converse about what hurts and what heals.Saturday is a complex day with Mercury (communication), Mars (action!) and Uranus (revolution). Mercury in Libra is opposite Uranus in Aries. Oppositions (recognizing something new appearing over there somewhere) eventually synthesize. Mercury in Libra calls for Right Action and Right Relations, especially with money. Uranus in Aries—the revolution this time must be different.  Also on Saturday, Mars enters Sagittarius. Where are we going, what are our goals, where’s justice, where’s the mountain, do we have good shoes? Sunday Venus trines Pluto—in-depth assessment of money, values and resources. Gemini moon Monday; we talk a lot, tending to tasks in gardens and neighborhoods. Cancer Moon Tuesday and Wednesday; we nurture and nourish. The stars and planets remind us.Note: William Meader, esoteric author & international teacher, will be speaking on “The Soul of Humanity Evolving Through Crisis” at Meditation Mount, 7pm, Friday, Sept. 12.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 12

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

 

Wood Fire Woodie

Scotts Valley pizzeria gets fired up the old-school way

 

What's your all-time best Skyview Flea Market score?

Santa Cruz | eBay Business

 

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

 

Soquel’s Pinot Winner

When you taste Soquel Vineyards’ extraordinary 2012 Partners’ Reserve Pinot Noir, you will know why it won a Double Gold in June at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition.