‘MacKeel’ brings Celtic pop to stage Monday

“MacKeel,” the Celtic pop group which opens the “tour de Fort” season Oct. 5 at in the Robert Moore auditorium, has a very interesting album cover for their latest CD, “Plaid.”
It shows a picture of two cows just standing in a green field while facing the camera chewing their cud.
Having spent several minutes trying to figure out the significance of the pair of bovines, the question arose during an interview with “MacKeel” drummer Randy MacDonald–exactly what do cows have to do with Celtic music?
He didn’t know.
“No one understands it,” he admitted via telephone from Nova Scotia last week. “But it kind of sticks out.”
The band from Pictou County is proving to be one of the hotter ones coming out of the Maritimes right now. During this year’s East Coast Music Awards, they were nominated for group of the year and roots/traditional vocal artists of the year.
“Plaid” contains several traditional Celtic tunes played in a not-so-traditional way. “MacKeel” is a band which will take the sound of a bagpipe and mesh it with that of an electric guitar.
“It’s not hard to do as long as you respect certain rules,” said MacDonald, who writes most of their songs along with acoustic guitarist and lead singer Glenn Gordon.
“A good bagpipe tune is [still] a good bagpipe tune,” he added, noting the band is very critical of itself when it comes to redoing a traditional east coast song.
“[But] where a guitar player might play a guitar solo, why not a bagpipe?” MacDonald asked.
And why not indeed? So far it’s work for the young Celtic group–and has given them a very broad listening base of both young and old.
“We had a mosh pit before with bagpipes [playing],” MacDonald said. “Then we’ll play into a theatre with people sitting down. We’re trying to get as many markets as we can.”
“MacKeel” heads back into the recording studio shortly after Christmas, MacDonald said, at which point they’ll be doing a lot more of their own music.
“We’re going to play some new songs [Monday night] that will be going on the new album,” he added.
When asked if he was worried about coming to an area where they’ve never played before, MacDonald said he has too much confidence in the band members to be worried.
“We feel it’s strong enough that whoever we may take [our music] to is going to like it,” he said.
The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Non-passport holders can buy tickets at the door for $20 each.