"Forest Fire": Saline Alum’s Musical Phoenix Rising from the Ashes


Mac Kish. Courtesy of Mac Kish

"Every act of creation is first an act of destruction." This quote by Pablo Picasso may well be the mantra for Mac Kish's musical journey. His creative awakening began in 2019, in the midst of personal turmoil that would ultimately fuel the flames of his long-awaited LP, "Forest Fire."

Kish's journey started in the aftermath of a devastating car accident that left him physically injured and unemployed. The crisis led him to reevaluate his life, including his 20-year commitment to the Jehovah's Witnesses and a marriage on the brink of divorce.

The accident "was a spark for me to pick up the guitar again," Kish says, "I bought a new one and started writing songs." This rebirth of his musical passion marked the beginning of his work on "Forest Fire," an album deeply rooted in his personal struggles.

“Forest Fire” LP cover by Eric Smith. Courtesy of Mac Kish.

Kish's divorce and departure from his religion left a significant void. To fill this, he devoted all his energy and time to writing music. Over the next three years, Kish meticulously recorded demos in his home studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, often in collaboration with local musician and producer Whit Fineberg.

Fineberg, a fellow alum of Saline, played a crucial role in fleshing out Kish's raw ideas into polished musical pieces. Their partnership culminated in an eight-track full-length album, recorded in October 2022 at Fineberg's home studio. To add depth to the record, they assembled an ensemble of talented local musicians, including Alex Anest, Scott Kendall, Evan Laybourn, and Andrew Solway.

Speaking about his musical style, Kish describes it as indie folk, "with a lot of acoustic guitar and folk elements, and a touch of alternative rock."

Perhaps the album's most poignant moment is its closure, where Kish belts, "I probably will hate this." The raw emotion and vulnerability encapsulate his struggle to move on from the pain of his divorce. But through the cathartic process of writing and recording "Forest Fire," Kish managed to rise from his personal ashes.

He hopes that his songs will resonate with others going through difficult times. "Through my struggles and personal relationships, I hope that other people going through the same thing can relate and pick up on it," he says, expressing his desire for his music to help others.

The "Forest Fire" album release show is set to take place at the Loving Touch in Ferndale on June 16th, and the album will be available on all music streaming services.

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