Noel McKay emulates his mentor Guy Clark in becoming a master songwriter and luthier as well. Celebrating his 49th birthday on Christmas Day, the local singer considers causes for both celebration and reflection, including the recent loss of frequent co-writer Richard Dobson.
Austin Chronicle: Frustrating having a birthday on Christmas?
Noel McKay: It’s kind of like not having a birthday. That’s my rationale for playing a gig on my birthday. I’ve never tried it before. Just get my friends together and play some music.
AC: What do you have planned for the show?
NM: My friend Chris Fullerton is playing, and of course Brennen Leigh will be there, and my brother Hollin will play a set and then we’ll probably play a set as the McKay Brothers.
AC: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in songwriting?
NM: For co-writing, my advice is to let go of your own ego. I wrote with Guy and Richard in different ways. Richard and I wrote via email. Any time we sat down together to write, we’d just end up talking for hours and not writing, so we’d trade song ideas and melodies over email. Guy and I wrote a couple of songs face-to-face. One of them we just sat and stared at each other for four hours and got one verse. Guy was a great teacher. He wasn’t always patient, but he was always kind.
AC: Any New Year’s resolutions?
NM: My resolution is to start building a couple more guitars this year. I finished the one that Guy and I started together, and it’s kind of waking up and breaking in now. But I want to get better at building guitars like Guy did and carry that forward. And of course keep writing songs. My resolution is to be as free as I can to do all that.
Sun., Dec. 24, 7:30pm