Chris MacKay & the ToneShifters was formed in the fall of 2009. Chris started his career playing percussion with New London CT new wave act Newjohnny 5 in the early days of the blossoming New London music scene. The band attracted national attention and soon shared bills with many national acts such as INXS, Cindy Lauper, Tears for Fears, The Ramones and Culture Club to name a few. The band toured the East Coast and down South performing at such venues as C.B.G.B.’s, the infamous Studio 54 as well as playing the Hartford Civic Center before a crowd of 16,000.
He went on to front a series of bands playing original music covering everything from hard rock, blues, funk, rockabilly and alt rock over the years, and gained a wealth of experience in many different genres. In 2009 Chris was looking to form a blues /roots band where he could combine different genres into a cohesive mix of originals and obscure covers. Working with musicians from many different musical backgrounds it soon took on a life of its own when the diversity and individual tastes of the band members began to mesh into a tasty stew of danceable roots music.
Known for their exciting live shows and their interaction on stage, the band has quickly become a favorite helping them land opening slots for national blues acts Nick Moss & the Flip Tops, Sean Chambers and Mike Zito (Royal Southern Brotherhood).
In early 2012 the single “Lena” was released on the Good Sponge labels Vol. 1 compilation and in March of 2012 their first c.d. “Picture On The ‘Fridge” was released in a limited run featuring a special guest track from Nashville “Super Picker” Johnny Hiland who has performed and recorded tracks for some of the biggest names in country and rock.
After some personnel changes the band took a short break to regroup, learn some new material and in early 2013 came out with a vengeance releasing the single “Go Speed”, a tribute to Brazilian race driver Ayrton Senna and the highly acclaimed documentary “Senna” on the Good Sponge labels Vol. 2 compilation. The song was picked as one of the top 5 tracks on the compilation.
Also in 2013 the band was nominated for a New England Music Award for the state of CT and a regional Whalie Award for best Blues/Country/Rock act as well as a “Critics Choice” award. Currently the band continues to evolve and write new material and hope to re- release “Picture on the ‘Fridge” (Refrigerated!) in a different format with different arrangements and some new tracks in late fall. That will be followed up with a new full length release in the winter of 2014.