When you’re 19 years old, it’s unusual to look back over the waning year and realize you’ve achieved several milestones. But that’s exactly what Fort Erie musician Spencer Mackenzie is doing as 2019 approaches.
The guitarist, singer, songwriter focuses primarily on the blues and 2018 has been good to him.
In fact, the past three years have seen MacKenzie rise to prominence with appearances at most of the top blues festivals, including several appearances at Thorold’s own Canal Bank Shuffle.
Among his accomplishments are: Blues Artist Of The Year at the 2017 Niagara Music Awards, New Artist Of The Year at the 2016 Maple Blues Awards, International Songwriting Competition in 2016, placing third in the blues category and he was the winner of the Toronto Blues Society talent search in 2016.
His most recent accolade came from ‘The Rockin Blues Show,’ which chose his recording, Cold November, among the Top 29 Canadian Rockin' Blues Albums Of The Year. He is in the company of Canadian blues royalty as other artists named include Colin James, J.W. Jones, Jack de Keyzer, David Gogo, Anthony Gomes and Myles Goodwin, to name a few.
These are all seasoned veterans and MacKenzie’s inclusion among them is a testament to his talent and points to a bright future ahead. After a successful debut album, many artists suffer a setback with the sophomore offering. But MacKenzie built on his earlier recording, Infected with The Blues, and launched Cold November, into the upper stratosphere of blues recordings.
The album has gained praise from several sources.
“Cold November is a crisp and professional document in the early stages of a sure-to-be important and influential Mackenzie career timeline,” wrote Ian McKenzie in Blues & Roots Radio.
“Spencer MacKenzie sets the bar high with an album of great maturity; one of those works that we would swear out of the discography of an old veteran who has spent many years on the chitlin 'circuit to get so much mastery,” said Fred Delforge in ZicaZic, a European music outlet based in France.
And Tom O’Connor of Rock and Blue Muse wrote, “If The Blues is going to survive it doesn’t just need young players who can emulate the sounds, themes and structures; it needs those players to eventually take charge, make the music their own and help evolve the genre into whatever it will become next. It’ll be 'kids' like Spencer who’ll be doing a lot pf the heavy lifting in the years & decades to come.”
MacKenzie told the Thorold News, "I'm honoured to be among the 29 albums of the year."
He explained, “The Rockin' Blues Show show is one of the many stations that support blues artists and play their music online to fans around the world. I found out about the award through their social media sites.”
Then Mackenzie shared more great news:“Cold November was one of the top 20 blues albums of 2018 chosen from a panel of stations around the world.”
And if that wasn't enough, he revealed,
“The album is also in the top 200 Roots Music Report, coming in at 22nd for blues-rock album of the year.”
That ranking puts him among right alongside some of the best in the world, including Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Mike Zito, Jonny Lang, Poppa Chubby, Savoy Brown and Van Morrison. The list is an impartial one coming from a report generated by all blues stations across Canada recording airplay.
“I’m so honoured for the support from all of the stations that share this album with blues fans around the world,” he said.
MacKenzie noted that sales of the album have also been brisk. A recent appearance in Thorold saw his CD sales top veteran artists who also appeared on the bill and he said he was lucky enough to see that happen at a number of festivals this past year.
He acknowledges strong support from mom, Sandra, and dad, Richard, with his dad sharing some of the writing credits. He also thanked his radio publicist Gypsy Soul Records, publicist Sarah French and agent Brian Slack for their support in his accomplishments.
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