Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Mar 31st
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

 

Best of Santa Cruz 2015

In 40 years of publishing, Good Times has seen a lot of “bests.”

 

Spring Triangle: Three Spring Festivals—Aries, Taurus, Gemini

The Spring signs Aries, Taurus and Gemini constitute a triangle of force that sets the template for the nine signs that follow and the template for the entire year (Spring 2015 - Spring 2016) ahead. Aries initiates new ideas, Taurus stabilizes the new thinking of Aries and Gemini takes the initiating stabilized ideas of Aries/Taurus and disperses them to all of humanity. It is in this way that humanity learns new things, with the help of Mercury, the messenger. As Spring unfolds, three elements emerge: the Fire of Aries (initiating new ideas), the Earth of Taurus (anchoring the ideas of God through Mercury) and the Air of communicating Gemini. These three signs/elements are the Three Spring Festivals. They are the “triangle of force” forming the template (patterns) of energy for the upcoming new year. After these three we then have the soothing, calming, warming, nurturing and tending waters of the mother (Cancer). Cancer initiates our next season under the hot suns of summer. Planets, stars and signs create the Temple of Light directing humanity towards all things new. March 29 is Palm Sunday, when the Christ, World Teacher, was led into Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (humility). Palms waving above His head, signified recognition of the Christ’s divinity. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before the Easter (Resurrection Festival). Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, the week of capture, imprisonment, passion, sacrifice, crucifixion, death and resurrection of the christ. All events in the Christ’s life represent events (initiations) that humanity experiences through many lifetimes. We turn our attention to these holy events this week. Their concepts portray and reveal to us greater spiritual understanding. Then, Aries, the “light of life itself” shines through us.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Best of Santa Cruz 2015 Editor's Picks

BEST NIGHT CAP WARSAW MULE AT SHADOWBROOK
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Spring Spirits

Sean Venus’ gin straight up, remembering Rosa’s and a tasting of Hungarian wines

 

What’s your favorite most recent outdoor discovery in Santa Cruz?

A hike that’s across from Waddell Beach. I didn’t realize you could go across the highway and do a super simple loop, and it’s beautiful. You can see the coastline. Liz Porter, Santa Cruz, Community Outreach

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Muscat 2012

 

Front Street Kitchen

Pop-up spot attracts paleo crowd with locally sourced low-carb meals