Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Joe Macey loves to read a room. The veteran singer and guitarist says he has a knack for quickly determining what tunes will get his audience engaged.
"Roping them in is the part I love," Macey says, and he's been loving it for 37 years.
Macey performs from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday in the first afternoon apres-ski music event of the season. It's also his first appearance in the Copppertop, and Macey says he's combing through his song book for "mountain music," thus far tucking away nuggets by James Taylor, Cat Stevens, and (natch') John Denver.
Early in his career, Macey went headlong into country music and had a great run through the region before heading to Nashville to work on an album in the mid-90s. His single from the record, "Lonesome Rider," sold well and recently had a sales bump when it was placed on several digital music services.
"We sold another 3,000 copies of the song, with the single biggest sales coming from China, followed by Mexico," Macey notes (you can hear the song and few others by clicking the link beneath Macey's photo).
When Macey returned from Nashville to Sturbridge, many of the venues that supported local country music no longer did. So out of necessity, he expanded his repertoire, and teamed for several years with an old musical ally from his youth, Tim Hart. Those two parted ways about a year ago, and Macey developed his current solo show. He does have a new duo in the works with singer Liz Hartmann, and that project will debut in April.
"When the local country scene dried up, I decided to do whatever I had to to stay working. I learned songs in every genre. I kept my country roots, but I have the ability to play rock and roll," he says.
Macey says he doesn't like to take breaks once his set gets going, so settle in once he starts strumming.
"There's definitely a rhythm to my shows," he says. "I like to keep going and going so the show peaks when it should peak. I like to work hard. Maybe that's not the best for my vocal cords."
But that work ethic has seen this full-time musician through so many changing times and styles that there's no stopping him now.