The road ends, but the journey continues...

Killer Tune Shoutout: "Give It To My People"

The dreaded drought season in the life of a working musician…while it can be excruciatingly hard to bear at the time, the good news is that it does not last forever.  Also, during that period of seemingly non-productivity, the brain on music is constantly firing on some level or another.  For myself, this period of non-performance, my ‘dry spell’ has been filled with more opportunities to compose, arrange, explore other instruments, actively research and listen to tons of music.  Sifting through various genres, with piles of notes heaped high one on top of the other I have entered into a myriad of musical worlds; hence gaining insight into diverse approaches to the artistic need to create and express what is deep within…
That said, when fellow colleagues share audio clips, videos and good sources of musical material for listening and consideration, I eagerly attend to their suggestions.  And, when a piece is presented to me by way of my son, I take even greater notice and engulf myself in its offerings.

Take a listen, folks.

A-MAC DZ – ‘Give It To My People’ from Rise Above c Alex Mackenzie-Low 2014

Alex Mackenzie-Low: vocals, acoustic guitar

Alex Mackenzie-Low: vocals, acoustic guitar

How’s that for an in-progress EP rough mix? Let’s analyze it a bit…first off did you notice the voice?  Who is this guy behind the Rod Stewart voice?  When I got the mp3 from my son who plays on all the sax tracks, I started out listening only for his parts: the voicings, the integration of the instrumental tracks, compositional components; totally disregarding the normally banal lyrics of newer bands.  Just my usual way of delving into the musicality of individual recordings.
But the guy behind the Rod Stewart voice was quite compelling.  I couldn’t ignore the voice or the message.
As I put the song on repeat and listened more closely to the lyrics I realized this is indeed a very cool 21st century ‘social statement song’ in a style that’s definitely got generational cross-over appeal…

Give It To My People by Alex Mackenzie-Low
Give it to my people ‘cause I know that they be rising above
To our creator giving life under the sky above
To our surprise we hold the key and that be setting us free
For all with ears to hear the truth is yours if you believe
Born into a world with all the suffering supporting the greed
And honest people getting robbed by the people they feed
Tell me, what does it take to turn the tides and rid us all of their lies?
Realize this world is ours, someday we’ll hold the prize
Listen close your mind to come at ease
Open up inside to come at peace
When it all boils down the last shall be the first
When it all boils down in time we all will learn
Give it to my people ‘cause I know that they be rising above
To our creator giving life under the sky above
Peace to the mothers giving their children all their love and their time
Peace to the fathers working endlessly so the family can get by
Living in a world where we waste, pollute, and still ask for more
Conscious people planting trees but they are ignored
Tell me what does it take to set it straight and start over again
Before it’s too late, I know it’s possible my friend

Alex Mackenzie-Low, the guy behind the Rod Stewart voice, writes all of the material for his 7-piece band, A-MAC DZ.  Joining Alex (lead vocals & acoustic guitar) A-MAC DZ is comprised of: Danny Bastos (lead guitar), Jake Heym (percussion), Joe Lilly (sax), Matt McElwain (drums), Karl Rivers (keys), and Isaac Schiff (bass).
All members of the band are given creative license to arrange and add personal touches throughout those pieces.  In the case of ‘Give It To My People’ this collaborative approach results in a palpable synergy.

Joe Lilly-saxophone

Joe Lilly-saxophone

“This project is nice since I can work on leaving space in my lines and on having a conversation with the vocals or guitars.  As an example of this, the alto line in the chorus doesn’t resolve, but leaves space for Danny’s guitar line.” Joe Lilly, sax
The completed EP Rise Above is slated for an April 2014 release.  Count me as being first in line to purchase my personal copy! How about you?

Additional credits:
Alex promo photo by Illuminer Photography
Joe promo photo by Chandler Kim c 2013


  1. Anna Scott Graham

    What a gorgeous song! I heard some sort of Irish lilt in Alex’s voice, and I loved that sax!

    • laura bruno lilly

      I love how we each can hear different things in the same sounds…Irish lilt indeed.
      greenpeace (!)

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