Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Tuesday, March 5

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Conversation with Celine Neon Our Picks for North Coast Music Festival 2015 (and a Giveaway!) »

Album Fri Aug 14 2015

Mesmerizing Melodies on Land of Plenty

Bill MacKay and Ryley Walker have formed a serendipitous, yet seemingly quintessential musical partnership. Bill Mackay, talented Chicago guitarist and part of Darts & Arrows, and Ryley Walker, known notably for his debut album, Primrose Green, released this past year as well as a Pitchfork Music Festival appearance, met at a party in 2014 and discovered their mutual affinity for songbirds including Laura Nyro and Nick Drake. Soon after, the duo began crafting their instrumental guitar material for Land of Plenty at Mackay's home studio, released today via Whistler Records. Beginning in January 2015, Mackay and Walker played a month-long Friday night residency at The Whistler, which allowed them to hone in on their unique folk sound, rework material, and improvise.

Drawing on diverse genres, including storied folk music, traditional Indian melodies, as well as blues and jazz riffs, Mackay and Walker have created a seamless instrumental masterpiece, involving a range of sounds and styles along the way. With a myriad of songs that the duo had composed, they selected seven distinct tracks that comprise Land of Plenty. Recorded live, the album's nature of unpredictability is completely undetected, as Mackay and Walker craft their duets in perfect harmony with one another. We forget that they're even in front of a crowd, until we hear the mere seconds of applause at the end.

The album opens up with "It Takes a Quilt," a lush, lilting cacophony of sound that rumbles in at just around 11 minutes. Diving into various emotional sensibilities, the song resembles feelings of both peace, as well as distress. Hendrix-esque blues twangs rise within the ballad, just the first of interesting surprises to grace the listener throughout the album. Raga melodies are displayed within "Rickshaw Waltz", with its style evocative of traditional world music. The song launches from tranquility, into a frenzy, and back again, circling through intricate, finger-picking melodies all the while.

Land of Plenty reaches a peak during its title track, with layer up layer of sound moving full speed ahead in tandem with each other. Strong, sentimental, and warm, the song evokes sentiments of old Americana ballads. As a whole the album showcases a diverse range of musical stylings, while also displaying the immense talent of both Mackay and Walker. They never miss a beat, and never falter. The guitar melodies are mesmerizing in their intricacy, and showcase the immense talent of each artist. As both produce their next musical endeavors, I truly hope a second album is possible for the pair, whose music exudes a sense of comfort within their artistry, yet innovation, at the same time.

GB store
GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15