Eleven years ago, this record changed my life. It entered my purview in high school four years earlier, but it wasn't until 2010 after graduating college that this album really made an impact.
Now, in 2021, it's getting fully reissued on Aloha Got Soul. After all these years of cherishing this record, I finally can proudly say (still with some disbelief) that AGS is reissuing this timeless album.
Digital drop on Bandcamp is slated for July 30th, 2021. Vinyl expected to arrive in mid- to late-August.
We also did a handful of exclusive variants — check out this list:
Why so many variants? Why not, right? After all, original copies of this momentous release for one of Hawaii's forerunning contemporary artists sell for minimum $150 — so instead of leaving the music to those who can afford it, we figured let's make enough copies so it's accessible to all. No more bidding wars on Mackey Feary Band's music, we'll make sure anyone who wants to buy a vinyl copy can.
Order the vinyl here → Mackey Feary Band (AGS-062)
We also made sure that this release sounds amazing. We hired the help of master restorer Jessica Thompson to bring this record back to life. It's sounding better than ever!
Here's an excerpt from the liner notes that will be included with the vinyl pressing:
We call vinyl records “records” for a reason: they capture a moment in time; an archive of an artist’s expression for others to listen back to. An album like this — Mackey Feary’s first release after leaving the seminal contemporary Hawaii group, Kalapana — is evidence to the power held in musical recordings.
This album changed my life, thirty some years after its original release. Mackey passed away in 1999, four years after my family moved to Hawaii from the Pacific Northwest. But it wasn’t until 2005 that I heard “A Million Stars” for the first time, a song that shines as bright as the evening skies above Hawaii every time I hear it. It’s a song I fell in love with long before I started Aloha Got Soul.
Without any familial or musical ties to the islands, these sounds were all new to me. Even Kalapana’s music was largely unfamiliar. Back then, it was inconsequential music heard on the radio, in airport terminals, at grocery stores: a background soundtrack to life growing up in the islands.
In high school I started collecting records. That’s when Macky Feary Band entered my life. My copy was a borrowed one, lent by a friend’s father who was a big fan of The Beatles and Kalapana. This record hardly left my turntable all summer. “A Million Stars” was a sweet sound to my ears, the jazzy, bass-forward grooves with Mackey’s smooth voice leading the way. I must’ve played the song a thousand times over.
The following year, I moved to the mainland for university, where I would continue to dig for records, mostly as sampling material for beatmaking, but also for the sake of enjoyment and discovery. That copy of Macky Feary Band returned to its original owner before I left Hawaii. After that, I gave the album little thought. Life moves briskly as a young adult. With the record no longer in my possession, my attention went to the countless other records and experiences that filled my days as a wide-eyed college-going kid.
In 2010, by chance, Macky Feary Band entered my life once again.
The opening bass line and playful keys of “A Million Stars” appeared this time on Soundcloud, in a mixtape by DJ Muro entitled Hawaiian Breaks. Released in Japan in 2009, Muro’s mix was an hour of funky, unexpected grooves from Hawaii. It blew me away. Here I was, back in the Pacific Northwest as an adult, homesick for the archipelago I called home, hearing the most incredible (and sample-ready) sounds I never knew existed — all from Hawaii!
“A Million Stars” was smack in the middle of the mix. When it hit me, feelings and memories of home poured over me. In that moment, my newly graduated self knew I needed to move home to Hawaii and find more local music like this. I launched a blog to chart my journey. I called it Aloha Got Soul.
Upon release, the long-awaited long player lived up to expectations.
Macky Feary Band signaled a new era for the singer, the album a step out from his previous group Kalapana, with fresh, original material that comprised a perfectly sequenced LP. Much like “The Hurt” on Kalapana I, “You’re Young” opened the album with confidence and stride, feathered by the loving ballad “Catherine” which left enough room for “Lullabye” and “I Remember You” to offer additional romantic imagery on side one. This was a time when the last track on the first side of an LP had to be compelling enough to encourage the listener to get up, walk over to the turntable, and flip the record to side two. “A Million Stars” was just that, a bright and groovy tune written by Chucky Souza.
The flip side continued with finesse and confidence with two songs that have proven timeless: “My Hands Do Play” and “It Takes Two”. Any great album leaves its listener with a synchronous sensation of satisfaction and wanting more. The closing orchestrated instrumentals achieved this: “Interlude In Mood” accelerates into a powerful, Santana-inspired all-out jam that highlights the band’s diversified musical timbre.
Mackey Feary led the development of a contemporary local sound that defined a generation in Hawaii. Distinct from the “traditional” Hawaiian music of artists like Gabby Pahinui, Peter Moon, Genoa Keawe, and Palani Vaughan, Mackey and his style of music was respected throughout the islands as an integral part of the fabric of Hawaii’s people and places. At Mackey’s funeral service, Hawaiian entertainer Danny Kaleikini expressed his admiration for the pioneering songwriter: “I sing songs of old Hawaii, but Mackey sang songs of the now Hawaii.” The singer died at 43 years old on February 20, 1999. He struggled with mental health and substance abuse issues.
A young Sebastian Feary — Mackey’s son — spoke with news reporters then about his father: “His voice has touched many people’s hearts. He wants all of you to remember the legacy he’s put into his music.”
As we drift further from those fruitful years of the 1970s and 1980s, when Mackey paved the way for a new sound of Hawaii, it is records like this — Mackey Feary Band — that ripple through time. Not only has Mackey Feary touched many people’s hearts, but he has changed countless lives with his music.