05 Jul Earth, wind and fire Experience ft. Al McKay opens Nisville
R’n’B and funk legends are coming to Serbia
Earth, wind and fire Experience ft. Al McKay opens Nisville
Al McKay´s Earth, Wind & Fire Experience is going to perform at opening day (August 12th 2021) of Nisville jazz festival. Built around legendary Earth, Wind & Fire guitarist Al McKay, the aptly-named “Al McKay´s Earth, Wind & Fire Experience” reincarnates the spirit of the original – powerfully delivering hit after hit of the supergroup’s songs – in the original keys and with the original feel.
McKay’s group, the Al McKay Allstars, offers a stunning demonstration of the power of living, vital performance, upholding the high standard of live excellence that established the original Earth, Wind & Fire sound. For fans around the world, the question often is: “where did this band come from?” It was 1982. After Al McKay left the group, Earth, Wind & Fire was on its last legs. Finally, in 1983 it was over. The band that had defined the modern sound of R&B music was done. All that was left was the legacy of the music that had sustained and nurtured a generation.
Then in 1990, the EWF icon, Al McKay – who was the “groove director” of the original band, who produced Boogie Wonderland, co-wrote “September” and was world-renown for his rhythm guitar chops – decided to put a band together from the spirit of the original group.
They called themselves the “LA Allstars.”
The group assembled former band members of EWF into a model of the original rhythm-section-driven group, organized around the all-important guitar work and music direction of McKay. Over the years, the LA Allstars – and later the Al McKay Allstars – have featured a who’s who of the most influential musicians in R&B and Funk. Performing their show around the world, “Al McKay´s Earth, Wind & Fire Experience” is the closest thing you can get to what EWF sounded like in its heyday during the late 1970’s and early 80’s.
Among musicians and fans alike, the group is considered the top funk band on the planet today. So if you are a fan of EWF or American funk music in general, be sure to see and hear the Al McKay´s Earth, Wind & Fire Experience on its worldwide tour. It is truly the opportunity of a lifetime and an Experience not to be missed.
Veteran, Grammy Award winning and multi-platinum recording artist Al McKay has a long
history of creating songs that feel good to the body and soul. The former Earth, Wind & Fire
guitarist teamed with group founder Maurice White to pen the band’s seminal hits “September”
and “Sing A Song” and honed his chops playing with Ike & Tina Turner and Sammy Davis Jr.
McKay continues in this tradition with “Heed the Message,” his latest offering from his band Al
McKay Allstars. In the spirit of McKay’s eight years in Earth, Wind & Fire from 1973 to 1981,
“Heed the Message” is rich with impressive harmonic backing vocals, ample moving saxophone
runs, driving funk bass grooves and uplifting lyrics: “Don’t think twice when your feeling is right,”
“Try meditation,” and “Love is the calling.” http://bit.ly/HeedTheMessage
“The song’s message is Do the best you can,” McKay explains. “Be true to yourself. Don’t let
anything get in your way. Whatever you consider being successful, don’t let it stop you from
doing what you do, what you’re here for.” McKay has a personal connection to the song’s
“I create a lot when I’m in my depressed mode,” he says. “But playing is really therapeutic, it
gets it out. Playing for me is the best way to release.” His intention is for the song to have a
similar impact on listeners.
McKay credits the late Maurice White with encouraging him to become a songwriter. White
would begin writing lyrics as he listened to McKay improvising on his guitar. “In the dressing
room, we used to have a tuning guitar room. After I would tune, I would start playing these tunes
and I could hear [Maurice] singing. That’s how we wrote ‘Sing A Song.’ That’s how we wrote
The Emotion’s ‘Best of My Love.’”
McKay describes White as his best songwriter partner and was saddened by White’s passing to
Parkinson’s disease in 2016. “It was difficult,” McKay recalls. “I didn’t realize it was taking such a
turn. Last time I saw him was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when we were being inducted.”
McKay is working on a new album. In addition to working with some of his bandmates, he’s also
in talks to collaborate with a few of the music business’ hit making, award-winning songwriters
and producers. “I have some exciting things in the works,” McKay explains. “It’s just too early to
share the names.”
One of McKay’s recent works is a feel good, dance song “Everybody Get Up” that the band has
been playing during their European concert dates. “They love it in Europe,” he says.
The tour set pays homage to Earth, Wind & Fire. When the band went on an extended hiatus in
the 1980s, McKay created Al McKay Allstars and reunited many original Earth, Wind & Fire
band members, including Verdine White, to resume playing together. “I had damn near the
whole band,” McKay says with a laugh. “I’d like to continue in Earth, Wind & Fire’s tradition.”
The Al McKay Allstars lineup includes: Al McKay (guitar), Tim Owens (vocals), DeVere Duckett
(vocals), Claude Woods (vocals), James Manning (bass guitar), Ben Dowling (keyboards),
David Iwataki (keyboards), Anthony Beverly (drums), David Leach (percussion), Joel Nunez
(saxophone), Luis Gonzales (trumpet), Omar Peralta (trumpet) & Shaunte Palmer (trombone)
Prior to joining Earth, Wind & Fire, McKay was hired on the spot to play with Sammy Davis Jr.
after demonstrating his mastery of the then new wah-wah pedal. He played extensive Vegas
dates with Davis before performing with the likes of Pearl Bailey, Andy Williams and Isaac
One of McKay’s most impressive tenures would be touring with Ike & Tina Turner, a gig he
landed at 18, not long after finishing high school. McKay accompanied a bandmate to an Ike
and Tina Turner rehearsal and impressed Ike with his guitar skills.
“They were learning ‘Losing You’ by The Temptations.’ Ike was arguing that it was two guitars
playing the opening line. I could play so I interjected, ‘That’s only one guitar.’ People looked
around like, Who’s this little high school dropout? Ike said, ‘Oh, yeah, you know how to play?’ I
said, ‘Well, I’m left handed.’ I took his Stratocaster and played it upside down. The next day I got
a call. He wasn’t even looking for a guitar player. We just hit it off.’”
Exactly five decades later, McKay is still going strong and motivated to create. “I’d like to try
music with films,” he reveals. “I’d like to be able to see something and feel and be inspired. I
would like to give it a shot and see what comes up.”
Movie scoring would be a great next venture for McKay. In order to make it happen, he only
needs to revisit the lyrics of his new song “Heed the Message”: “Don’t think twice when your
feeling is right.” https://soundcloud.com/almckayallstars/heed-the-message