Songwriter Matt MacKelcan lands in Charleston 

Ramblin' man, songs in hand

Behind his cheerful, laid-back manner, Matt MacKelcan is a serious guy, most concerned about writing solid rock songs, performing well on stage, and getting out there — way out there.

Last week, the visited a few favorite Carolina haunts before flying to Los Angeles for some loungy sets at a big film festival. This week, he and his new backing band headline an all-nighter on East Bay at Wet Willie's — one of the numerous local venues thats embraced MacKelcan's melodic modern folk-pop style.

"I think one of the harder things to do is define our sound," says the bandleader. "I tend to call it 'soulful acoustic rock,' and there are some bluesy things, too. But it's not just hum-drum, bubble-gum stuff."

MacKelcan came up playing in the Winter Park/Orlando area, attending Rollins Collage as a music student. He recently settled in the Lowcountry. With him on lead vocals and acoustic rhythm guitar, his current roster finds Eric Hatcher on lead guitar and backing vocals, Nick Moscatello on drums, and Cody Bannevich on bass. The young quartet has already opened for such acts as Rusted Roots, Jupiter Coyote, Edwin McCain, Virginia Coalition, and others around town.

"We play a really wide variety," MacKelcan says. "We've embraced the Wet Willie's shows as great opportunities to have fun and make some new fans. Lately, we've been getting into the medleys — blending popular songs together in our own way with our own flavor."

One of the band's most ambitious mash-ups might be the Dave Matthews/Madonna/OutKast number, but they have others up their sleeves, too. The bulk of the current original set comes from MacKelcan's recent independent, 11-song release, No Turning Back.

"All of these gigs have made the band better," MacKelcan says. "There's chemistry, and it's a genuine band, not just me and some backing guys. Along with some regular rotation on The Bridge at 105.5, these recent experiences have helped a lot to solidify us as an act in town, so it's really exciting."

The Matt MacKelcan Band plays two sets at Wet Willie's (209 East Bay St., 843-853-5650) on Fri. June 26 at 10 p.m. No cover. They perform on Mon. July 6 at 10 p.m. at the Windjammer (1008 Ocean Blvd., 843-886-8948) as well. Check out mattmackelcan.com for more.

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