Mic Check: Mac Powell working on Christian rock solo album

Editor’s note: With live music and concert reviews on hold due to COVID-19, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is focusing on how Georgia musicians are spending their time in our new feature, Mic Check.

There is never much downtime in Mac Powell’s world.

As the former frontman for Third Day, one of Christian rock’s most successful bands, he toured relentlessly for more than 25 years until the outfit disbanded in 2018.

Powell’s other musical baby, Mac Powell and the Family Reunion, released a pair of albums in 2018, but is now on hiatus.

So what has the 47-year-old Marietta resident turned to now? His first solo Christian album, which he says will focus on pop-rock songs. Powell intends to record the tracks this fall and release a couple of singles by the end of the year.

Next month, he'll join Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman for a series of drive-in concerts around the South (primarily Tennessee and Virginia), and he's still posting casual live performances on his Instagram page (@macpowell).

Being at the four-acre home he shares with wife, Aimee, and their five children might not sound like an ideal location for productivity, but Powell, like many of his peers, has utilized home technology to keep working.

Here is what he had to say about musician life during the coronavirus.

How have you been spending your time?

I spent a lot of time outside with the family, and we’re doing school with kids. It’s been a really great time for us. All five kids are in the house, and the oldest is 20. I’d be lying if (I didn’t admit) we didn’t get stir crazy, but it’s been a great time for our family, having every lunch and dinner together, and every night there’s some tournament of whiffle ball. I’ve been writing songs. I know there’s so much bad that’s going on with the pandemic, but thankfully for us, we’re been about positive more than the negative. I’ve been out very rarely, but when I do, it’s been Lowes or Home Depot and the grocery store. I don’t want to make light of what has happened, but I think it will be awhile before we see the major effects of this.

What are you listening to?

Emerson Hart, the lead singer of Tonic, he and I recently connected on Instagram, and I’ve been listening to his solo record a lot. I’ve been listening to the most recent Vampire Weekend record. I saw them at the Fox a few months ago. I’ve really been listening to a lot of my own stuff because I’ve been writing. A couple of days a week I have a Zoom call with people in Nashville. Jason Hoard, my right-hand man, has been demoing up stuff, and we’ve been sending tracks back and forth. I’m staying busy. It’s great to still be working and not have to go to a big studio to do it. The technology is amazing. I’m much more glad we’re in this pandemic (now) than those who went through it in 1918.

What do you miss?

Being on the road, being in front of an audience. I’ve been doing things on Instagram, from an old-school hymn to James Taylor to an old Third Day song, but at the same time, it’s different. I love being home, and I love being on the road and now I want the opposite. But there’s something about that call that it’s in your heart. Once you’ve done that (live) experience, it’s hard not to do it.

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