Andy Mackay — 3Psalms (23 Nov. 2018) Birth name: Andrew Mackay
Born: 23 July 1946, Lostwithiel, Cornwall, England
Genres: Rock, glam rock, art rock, classical music, R&B
Location: London, England
Instruments: soprano saxophone, Alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, keyboards, oboe, lyricon, Yamaha WX7, vocals
Album release: 23 Nov. 2018
Record Label: Good Deeds Music
01 Deep: Psalm 130 (Extended Version) 10:34
02 Interlude 3:08
03 Refuge: Psalm 90 12:19
04 Praise: Psalm 150 6:14
∠∠ The 3Psalms started as an experimental project in the mid 1990s, aiming to be a synthesis of all Andy’s varied influences, from his classical training to his rock and roll, avant~garde electronica and even his years as a boy chorister.
∠∠ Picking up in 2012, Andy went back into the studio, scoring strings, choir, synthesisers, guitar and some other rock elements. Of course, Andy’s distinctive sax sound weavesthroughout the piece.
∠∠ Why “I have long been fascinated by this collection of ancient poetry and song which has permeated our cultural life. I have tried to reflect this by using the original Hebrew and Latin as well as 17th Century English.”
∠∠ People of faith will find themselves in familiar territory while Atheists and Agnostics can join the extraordinary debate in which the Psalmists turn from a feeling that God is totally absent or unknowable to arguing with Him because He isn’t doing what they want!
∠∠ Lead vocals are by the amazing new talent Harry Day~Lewis, joining Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera, the Czech National Philharmonic Orchestra and some of Britain’s finest session musicians.
Aaron Badgley, Score: ★★★★½
∠∠ It has been almost ten years since Andy Mackay has released a solo album (his last solo offering being London! New York! Paris! Rome! credited to Andy Mackay + The Metaphors was released in 2009). Now with Roxy Music looking less and less likely to reform any time soon, Mackay has been able to finish a project he started in the 1990s. That project is the very ambitious and very brilliant 3 Psalms. Joining Mackay for this album are Phil Manzanera, Harry Day~Lewis (vocals) and the Czech National Philharmonic Orchestra, and many more. The end result is one of the most beautiful, challenging and engaging albums of the year.
∠∠ The album is broken into three movements, “Deep” (Psalm No.130), “Refuge” (Psalm No. 90) and “Praise” (Psalm No. 150). There is a fourth song, “Interlude”. From beginning to end, the album takes the listener in and does not release them until the last beautiful strands of “Praise”, which ends the album. It is beautifully recorded and arranged, and the melodies glide in and out as the album unfolds. Although the album is based on the “Book of Psalms” from The Bible, there is more to this, much more.
∠∠ Mackay’s musicianship has never been better, and at times he is downright inspirational in his performance. His saxophone fits in beautifully and it defines the sound of the . The album, although based in classical music, is not a classical work in the strict sense of the word. It is more experimental if anything, 3 Psalms has shades of prog rock, and alternative rock woven throughout. The vocals and choir arrangements tend to lean towards an oratorio, but make no mistake, this is Mackay’s vision and his sound. In that sense, it escapes classification.
∠∠ The work is incredibly moving, with the theme of the album starting at questioning and ending in praise or hope. It is a theme that most would be able to identify with and a theme that is not tied strictly to The Bible. In fact, it can been seen as a religious piece or not, depending on your own personal view.
∠∠ Mackay has been working on this project, off and on, for over twenty years, and it has finally been recorded and released. It is a stunning album, one that Mackay has every right to be proud of. Over the past few years, Mackay has had his own health issues and successes outside of music, and all of that despair and joy is reflected in this work. It is simply an astonishing piece. Mackay, who has earned a Theology degree, incorporates the original words from The Psalms, even using Hebrew and Latin, and setting them to music befitting of the words. It works on many levels.
∠∠ 3 Psalms is one of the most original works to be released this year, and is an album that will grow in stature over time. It is also an album that needs to be listened to as an album. Sit back, and listen to this remarkable work in its whole.
The Godfathers of Pop: Andy Mackay interview
Douglas McPherson chats to Roxy Music’s Andy Mackay: