Mack Bailey - Biography
"The next great singer in folk music." - Glenn Yarbrough
You can tell a lot about singer songwriter Mack Bailey by the musical company he keeps. Mack has been hailed as “the next great singer in folk music” by no less an authority than Glenn Yarbrough, the original tenor in the fabulous world-renowned folk trio, The Limeliters. Mack’s career came full circle when in 2004 he was asked to be the newest tenor in The Limeliters, with whom he performed around the country for eight years.
Using John Denver’s music, Mack taught himself to play the guitar, so it was a thrill for Mack when he had the privilege of trading verses to “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” with Denver in front of 9000 people shortly before John’s death. Today, his experiences with the Limeliters and John Denver continue to play an active role in Mack’s professional life, even as he pursues his successful solo career. Mack has caught the attention of national folk music audiences with not only his Limeliters performances, but also touring in the musical cast comprising John's former band mates and musical partners, in paying tribute to him though concerts around the country and in Europe, including the Official John Denver Celebration Concerts sanctioned by his estate.
Several of Denver’s former band members have also played on Mack’s albums, including Chris Nole, Pete Huttlinger, Jim Horn, and Bill Danoff. Other music royalty has joined him as well: Mary Chapin Carpenter sang on his first album, which was produced by Bill Danoff of “Country Roads” and “Afternoon Delight” fame, and the Jordanaires contributed soulful background vocals on his album, Why I’m Here. Denver’s long-time producer, Kris O’Connor, produced Mack’s Through Your Eyes album. Most recently, prestigious musicians like Sam Bush, Pat Flynn, and Jack Pearson graced Mack’s album, Choose Your Attitude.
For almost two decades, Mack has been a principal member of the reunited 60s group, The Hard Travelers, with whom he has recorded five albums. He has a rich history of major concert appearances having performed with or shared the stage as opener with a long list of folk and country stars including Brooks & Dunn, Randy Travis, Alabama, Barbara Mandrell, Chet Atkins, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill & Amy Grant, Kathy Mattea, Tom Rush, Tom Paxton, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kenny Rogers, Alan Jackson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Brad Paisley, Leann Rimes, Martina McBride and John Denver confirming that indeed, Mack keeps very good musical company.
Mack also performs with his wife, Rachel Levy, and the duo have been likened to a “similar pairing 40 years ago of Gram Parsons and a very young Emmylou Harris”. “Lucky Man”, written by Mack and Rachel, was chosen as a finalist in the 2006 mid-Atlantic song contest in the country/bluegrass category and was also selected to be profiled in sing out! Magazine. In addition, this past fall “Lucky Man” was a feature song on NASCAR Angels. Mack and Rachel also co-penned “It’s Time”, which has received critical acclaim from former Vice-President Al Gore, as promoting environmental awareness. Mack was awarded for his excellence with a WAMMIE for Best Traditional Folk Performer, and his song “High Gear” has been featured on NPR’s popular Car Talk.
Originally hailing from the small town of Troy, North Carolina, Mack attended the North Carolina School of the Arts and graduated with a degree in music performance. Besides writing, performing solo and in his two groups, and recording eight solo albums, Mack is musically active in several medical and environmental causes, including Maryland Therapeutic Riding, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, The Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Starlight Starbright, and Challenge Aspen. Mack has also played in nursing homes and Alzheimer’s units playing group concerts and individual outreach, and he continues to enjoy working with school students on songwriting in their creative writing classes. He recently completed his Masters Degree in Music Therapy and works in Aspen, Colorado.
Mack has established a new 501C3 non-profit organization called Music Therapy of the Rockies which focuses on addressing the needs of veterans and other at-risk populations and transforming their lives and those of their families through evidenced-based research and techniques. Therapies include: self-confidence and self-esteem; mindfulness; emotional identification; therapeutic interventions; songwriting; repairing/building relationships; normalizing lives; coping skills; and reframing experiences.