Makky Kaylor is refreshingly old school. His ever-growing audiences prefer it that way. He's also cutting edge in a sense... His original and repurposed vintage country-jazz flavored music is classy. The overabundance of today's often 'rough around the edges' music scene, perhaps, makes Makky a rebel.
In a time when so much of the Nashville music scene sounds alike and looks alike, "being classy" is actually a rebellious act as we discussed over coffee at Windmill Bakery. And, with his history as a session singer and songwriter in Nashville for more than 20 years, he knows the music industry pretty darn well.
Originally hailing from Memphis, Makky lives in Columbia with his wife LeAnn (former Mrs. Maury County and a Mrs. TN award-winner) and their daughter, but still is actively writing and recording music that he deems as "country-jazz." He currently is in the middle of recording and co-producing his new album called "The Swanky South" and will perform with his all-star band Saturday night, January 21st, at Puckett's in downtown Columbia.
The show will be filmed by the award-winning company Reel Cool Films. One of Makky's goals of filming the performance is to "create a real sort of scenario with clinking glasses, shots of the audience and all the background noise that goes with a live event at a great Southern venue." Another goal is to make this a regular occurrence and a vehicle to promote Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant and downtown Columbia.
"Think upscale vintage," says Makky in reference to his band and their music. The five-piece band, Makky and The Swanky South Players, is comprised of fine-tuned musicians which include the 2017 Grammy nominated Time Jumpers' guitarist Andy Reiss (Vince Gill is also in The Time Jumpers), and legendary keyboardist Mark T. Jordan who's played with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison and Lyle Lovett.
Makky has written for various publishing companies through the years, including those owned by Willie Nelson, Hank Cochran, Larry Gatlin (with whom Makky wrote and recorded a duet), Acuff-Rose, Warner Bros. and more. He now owns his own publishing company and primarily composes his songs on the piano. And, although his music can be labeled "Americana," Makky says that it doesn't really fit into any one category. "You'll hear elements of vintage country, vintage jazz and my Memphis roots in my work, so it's hard to label."
But he's OK with that, which you might understand better when you learn that Makky had to have open heart surgery at the age of 37. His heart condition wasn't life-style oriented and though there isn't a clear reason for his life-threatening medical problems, he says that it "gave him a sense of urgency in life, while paradoxically also making him secure in his faith and in the recognition that life goes on and on."
No doubt, there is a reason he is known as "the Southland's Soulful Crooner," and that is because his music reflects both the heart and soul not just of the South, but also of Makky himself.
*The public is invited to Makky's show filming this Saturday night at Puckett's. Makky's shows often sell out so it's best to reserve your table at (931) 490-4550. There is a $10 cover charge.