To the website of professional harmonica player & musician Spider MacKenzie
Spider is no regular harmonica player but rather one who has a unique technical ability matched with an inimitable talent to convey the emotion of a song. Hence it's not surprising numerous, notable artists are keen to choose to work with him. Whether it's in Europe with his long term musical duo, companion Steve Crawford, Perrier award winning singer Niki King or across the pond with former Texas Musician of the Year Chris Gage or Grammy nominated artist Bill Kirchen in the United States of America. Spider's music is "sure to touch your heart and bring a smile to your face" to quote Sugar Blue the Grammy Award winner who has played with legends from Willie Dixon to The Rolling Stones.
After hearing Steve and Spider's recent album "Celticana" Charlie McCoy the most recorded harmonica player in history, Grammy-winning, Country Music Hall of Fame legend wrote "Spider's harmonica is a high spot. Put an ear on this one. You'll be glad you did"
A quick word from Spider - Thank you for taking the time to visit my website. You will find information on projects and shows I'm involved with. It's April 2021 as I write this and I hope to be performing live again as soon it's safe.
In the mean time I have been kept busy recording at home for a number of projects. Session playing on some lovely tracks for friends. I will keep you posted when their CDs, records come out.
I'd love it if you would join my mailing list so we can keep in touch.
I'd also like to express my gratitude to the following people.
Thanks to Sutherland Trading for their support and supply of my Hohner Harmonicas & to Valerie Fremin for the great photography.
Finally thank you to all the press, musicians and friends for all the lovely comments.
Hope to see you soon.
Love & hugs
Let's stay in touch
What revered musicians & press say
“Colin MacKenzie 'Spider' as we all know & love him, is one of the finest musicians I have ever had the privilege of playing live & recording with Class A on both counts. I can assure you Awesome Bluesman but then there is this other whole side to Spider that makes him stand out, jazz & almost Avant Garde area he can inhabit that is way off the map, both articulate and free spirit combined, but also he takes direction great, so fantastic to work with if you are a songwriter, he also knows when to back off, which is a weakness for many musicians of all levels or genres But more important, Spider is a great man too! Solid as they come and a great friend to have I am proud to call him a brother in music.”
Martin George Stephenson Ex Capitol & London Records recording artist
“Colin “Spider” MacKenzie is a wonderful player, he has a fluid, clean and sensitive style that is sure to touch your heart and bring a smile to your face, listen and enjoy!!”
Sugar Blue - Grammy Award winner who has played with legends from Willie Dixon to The Rolling Stones
"Spider is simply one of the best harp players there is. He's also one of the best musicians I've ever had the pleasure of working with. When we play songs together, he has an innate ability to remain sensitive to what the songs need. Whether that's creating some luscious soundscape, providing a nice groove or finding the right spaces, he always manages to know what serves the song best. But when it comes to taking a solo, then all I can do is sit back and gaze in wonder at what he can achieve with his instrument! And if this wasn't enough to make a great musical partner, then he's also one of the finest human beings I've ever known!"
Steve Crawford - singer, songwriter, multi instrumentalist, session musician
“Spider – a polite, unassuming guy… Until you put a harmonica in his hand. At that point he’ll take a song, and make you feel it. In your bones.” – Texas Lifestyle Magazine
“Spider is clearly a virtuoso harmonica player” - Blues Matters magazine
"I just listed to "Celticana: with Spider MacKenzie and Steve Crawford. The CD is full of great songs, great vocals and Spider's harmonica is a high spot. Put an ear on this one. You'll be glad you did" - Charlie McCoy most recorded harmonica player in history, Grammy-winning, Country Music Hall of Fame legend.
“the contributions of the harp player were very tasteful (keys were good too, but I thought the harp was excellent" Bruce Iglauer legendary CEO/Founder of Alligator Records
“Intensely moving harmonica sound”
“Massively exciting naturally talented harmonica player”
“I would cheerfully walk 100 miles over hot coals to feel some of his music” - Blueprint - magazine
“I still prefer the sensitive virtuosity and imagination of Aberdeen’s junior James Cotton, Spider MacKenzie” - The Sunday Times
“Harmonica virtuoso”, “Star of bloos moothie” - The Aberdeen Evening Express
“I bet you think every town has a blues harp player this good. They don’t and we should cherish him.”
The Aberdeen Press & Journal
“Top class music from Scotland” - WAZ newspaper, Germany
“Informed harmonica playing, adding atmosphere and filling spaces where spaces need filling. A formidable player who knows when to hold back and when to dive deep into a solo” - Northern Sky
“Very talented Scottish harmonica player” - Roots Time Belgium
Shows & tours
Steve & Spider perform at a private house concert
"Celticana" Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023 Steve Crawford and Spider MacKenzie
The Acoustic Music Centre @ Ukranian Community Centre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 14 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, EH7 5AB
Steve and Spider perform their one-off intimate show "Celticana" at the 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Friday 11th August 2023 - show time - 8.30-930pm
Ticket sale details to follow
Steve Crawford & Spider MacKenzie from Aberdeen in Scotland make music that is at times rich in warm, candlelight intimacy and in others all burning hell fire and brimstone. Bold and eloquent songwriting, and delivery, often reminiscent of the classic ‘70s singer/songwriters, combines with acoustic guitar, wailing and weeping virtuoso harmonica and mellifluous vocals to complete this dynamic duo. As Germany’s WAZ newspaper simply put it, “Top class music from Scotland”.
To record their most recent album, ‘Celticana’, they relocated first to Nashville to rehearse in the city’s historic East Side, soaking up all the muse this musical heartland has to offer. From there they travelled on to Moon House Studios in Austin, Texas to work with veteran musician-producer and former Texan musician of the year Chris Gage. The result is music stylistically drenched in Americana set to lyrics that spin stories from the Scottish motherland.
Steve Crawford has featured his songwriting on numerous albums over the years including with founding members of Old Blind Dogs in the band Catford. More recently, his work with the band Ballad of Crows won praise from legendary folk hero Mike Harding when he said, “Listen carefully to the words, they’re making really great music”. Now based in Germany, he has also established himself on the folk scene there in his work with the popular Cajun band Le Clou and also in his duet together with fiddler Sabrina Palm, receiving a nomination for best folk album from the distinguished German Critics Award (Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik) in 2019 for their second album, ‘Two’.
Spider MacKenzie is well established as one of the UK’s finest harmonica players. He is the go-to session player for many revered Scottish musicians - the late great Tam White, guitarist Andy Gunn and more recently UK Perrier Jazz Vocalist award winning singer Niki King have all sung his praises. Discovered by Stateside musicians as well, he has been called upon as a session player for a number of recording projects. Paying tribute to him, Christine Albert, former chairman of the Board of Trustees for the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the organization that puts on the Grammys wrote: “I feel that it is indeed rare to come across a harmonica player with such a genuine empathy for American music. He is an incredibly talented musician”.
Since the release of their first album ‘5 am’ in 2008 to great reviews (Scotland’s biggest selling newspaper The Daily Record awarded it five stars) the duo have gigged extensively in Scotland and across mainland Europe, with their first gigs in the USA in 2018.
“As good a combination of vocal, guitar and harmonica as you’re likely to hear, decorating songs that remind me of the quality and easy skill of early Jackson Browne” (Folking UK)
“Their music may be inspired and influenced by musicians on both sides of the pond, but it doesn’t actually come from anywhere. It’s already there. The music is embedded in Steve and Spider and they are graciously welcoming it to surface” (Texas Lifestyle Magazine, USA)
“An absolute asset to fans of wonderful folk, blues and Americana music” (Rootstime, BELGIUM)
“Masterful and rich Celticana, underpinned by perfect playing and singing, creating a whole that just shines with class” (Times Past & Times Passing, UK)
“I sat spellbound…..in love equally with Steve Crawford’s strikingly charismatic voice and Spider MacKenzie’s wistfully virtuoso harp playing” (Acoustic Guitar Magazine, GERMANY)
Spider performs with Michael Hearne, Shake Russell and others at Michael Hearne's wonderful 2023 Big Barn Dance Music Festival in beautiful Taos, New Mexico.