Mac Arnold
Shop for Mac Arnold mp3s. Get Mac Arnold essential facts below. View Videos or join the Mac Arnold discussion. Add Mac Arnold to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Mac Arnold
Mac Arnold
Mac Arnold.jpg
Background information
Born (1942-06-30) June 30, 1942 (age 75)
Ware Place, South Carolina, United States[1]
Genres Blues
Instruments Bass guitar, gas-can guitar
1965-1990s, 2006-today
Labels Plantation One Productions
Plate Full O' Blues, Muddy Waters, A.C. Reed, John Lee Hooker, Otis Spann

Mac Arnold
Max Hightower
Austin Brashier

Mac Arnold (born June 30, 1942), is an American blues musician from South Carolina.

Early years

Mac Arnold was born in Ware Place, South Carolina, one of 13 children born and raised on a sharecropper's farm.[2]

Arnold's musical journey began in the 1950s when he and his brother Leroy fashioned a guitar from a steel gas can, broomsticks, wood, nails, and screen wire:

Arnold, 72, laughs as he talks about how gas can guitars came about. One of those homemade guitars, the one most see him playing on stage, was leaning on a wall recently near his kitchen table in his Pelzer home.

Arnold's brother, Leroy, found a way to turn a gas can into a guitar when their father, Jodie Arnold, went to Florida to pick oranges.

"Dad wouldn't let him buy one (a guitar)," Mac Arnold said. "So when he was about 15 years old, he figured out how to make one on his own. We used to tie wire to the rafters in the barn, and we knew that made sound because of the tin roof. You could hear it vibrate through the barn."[3]

Arnold has since become famous for the gas-can guitar and has taught many other people how to make them.[4][5]

His early career included working with a young James Brown in the band, J. Floyd & the Shamrocks.[6][7] Arnold moved to Chicago in 1965, where he worked with A.C. Reed prior to joining Muddy Waters' band in 1966.[8] Arnold appears on the November 1966 live recording released in 2009 as Muddy Waters - Authorized Bootleg.[9][10] He formed the Soul Invaders in 1967, finding work backing up B.B. King, The Temptations, Little Milton and many others.[3]

Mac's studio work in the 1960s includes playing bass on several notable blues albums, including Otis Spann's The Blues Is Where It's At[11] and John Lee Hooker's Live At Cafe Au Go Go.[12] He performed in various session work after moving to California in the 1970s. Arnold's distinctive bass line can be heard on the theme for the TV show Sanford and Son.[13]

His TV work also included a four-year gig as part of the set band on Soul Train.[14]

Later years

By the 1990s, Arnold had grown weary of the road life and returned home to Pelzer, South Carolina and virtual retirement from the spotlight [15] until 2006, when he was convinced to front his own band, Plate Full O' Blues.[6] Arnold's return to the stage was the subject of a 2-part musical-history documentary, Stan Woodward's final film, Nothing to Prove: Mac Arnold's Return to the Blues.[16][17][18]

In 2013, Arnold opened his own restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina's historic West End,[19] where he hosted his popular yearly music event, The Cornbread and Collard Greens Blues Festival.[20][21][22] Despite much local success in the food business, he decided to close the restaurant in August 2017[23] to once again concentrate on music, especially after his nomination into the Alabama Blues Hall of Fame.[24][25]

Mac Arnold performs with his band, Plate Full O' Blues, at the 'Fall for Greenville' arts festival, October 2013

On September 23, 2017, Mac Arnold was inducted into the Alabama Blues Hall of Fame at the historic Dr. John R. Drish House in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.[26][27]

Awards and recognition

  • The Blues Foundation Awards[28]
  • Nominee, Best Traditional Blues Male Artist 2012.[29]
  • Nominee, Best DVD 2011, Woodward Studio, Nothing to Prove, Mac Arnold.[30]
  • Winner, Best Historical Album of the Year 2010, Chess Records - Authorized Bootleg (Muddy Waters) Mac Arnold appears on the album and accepted the award in Memphis.[31]
  • Winner 2006 Folk Heritage Award [32]
  • Awarded honorary doctorate of music from the University of South Carolina, May 10, 2014 [33]
  • Alabama Blues Hall of Fame, inductee, 2017 [26]

Music in schools

Arnold and the band support the preservation of music education in public schools through the, "I Can Do Anything Foundation", an organization that was started following the release of a song by the same name, written by Mac Arnold and Max Hightower and performed by Plate full O' Blues.[34]


  1. ^ Michael Buffalo Smith (July 2006). "Mac Arnold". Swampland. 
  2. ^ "The Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards". Under the Dome, University of South Carolina -- McKissick Museum. University of South Carolina. Fall 2006. p. 2. 
  3. ^ a b Smith-Miles, Charmaine. "Mac Arnold dishes on a life playing the blues". Anderson Independent Mail. Retrieved 2015. 
  4. ^ "Mac Arnold and the Gas Can Guitar - An interview by Steve Arvey". Retrieved . 
  5. ^ "Mac Arnold's Gas Can Guitar Heading to USC Museum". WSPA. Retrieved . 
  6. ^ a b Armonaitis, Dan. "Musician Mac Arnold can help chase away the blues". Retrieved 2017. 
  7. ^ "Michael Martin Presents: "NIGHT OF THE BLUES" w/Mac Arnold & Blonde Blues". Brown Paper Tickets. Retrieved 2018. 
  8. ^ Hedin, Mark (2005-11-13). "Flash From Past Comes Back To Honor Bluesman". SFGate. Retrieved . 
  9. ^ "Muddy Waters - Live/Fillmore Auditorium - San Francisco 11/04-06/1966". Discogs. 2009. 
  10. ^ "Muddy Waters Blues Band - Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, NOV 4, 1966". Concert Vault. 
  11. ^ "Otis Spann - The Blues Is Where It's At". Discogs. 1966. 
  12. ^ "John Lee Hooker - Live At Cafe Au-Go-Go". Discogs. 1989. 
  13. ^ Mullins, Terry. "Featured Interview - Mac Arnold". Blues Blast Magazine. Retrieved . 
  14. ^ Limnios, Michalis. "The Blues/R&B legend Mac Arnold talks about Muddy, John Lee Hooker, Otis Span, A.C Reed and his homemade gas-can guitar". Retrieved . 
  15. ^ Kopp, Bill. "Life after retirement for music legends Sidney Barnes and Mac Arnold". Mountain Xpress. Mountain Xpress. Retrieved 2017. 
  16. ^ "Nothing to prove : Mac Arnold's return to the blues, a film by Stan Woodward". James Madison University Libraries : Stan Woodward Southern culture and folklife lifeworks collection. 
  17. ^ "Nothing to prove : Mac Arnold's return to the blues". South Carolina Humanities. 
  18. ^ Wilson, Christina. "Documentary traces life, career of famed musician Mac Arnold". Retrieved . 
  19. ^ "Dr. Mac Arnold's Blues is new mecca for keeping the blues tradition and music alive". Blues Festival Guide. Retrieved 2017. 
  20. ^ Bledsoe, Wayne. "Mac Arnold still has the fuel for the blues, food and farming". Go Knoxville. Retrieved . 
  21. ^ Donna Isbell Walker. "Mac Arnold blues fest opens Thursday". USA TODAY. Retrieved . 
  22. ^ "Cornbread and Collard Greens Blues Festival". WSPA. Retrieved . 
  23. ^ Callum-Penso, Lillia. "Tipsy Taco owners taking over Mac Arnold's space, plan new kind of music venue, restaurant and bar". Greenville News. Retrieved 2017. 
  24. ^ "Dr. Mac Arnold Says Goodbye to Restaurant Business". WSPA. Retrieved . 
  25. ^ "Greenville music icon to close restaurant; new owners plan music venue". WYFF. Retrieved . 
  26. ^ a b "Alabama Blues Hall of Fame 2017 Inductees". Alabama Blues Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2017. 
  27. ^ Induction ceremony at Blues Hall of Fame : 360 Mac Arnold - Blues Hall of Fame : Don't burn my Cornbread
  28. ^ "Blues Foundation Award". Blues Music Awards. The Blues Foundation. Retrieved 2012. 
  29. ^ "2012 Blues Music Award Winners". American Blues Scene. Retrieved . 
  30. ^ "2011 Blues Music Award Nominees Announced". American Blues Scene. Retrieved . 
  31. ^ "2010 Blues Music Award winners". Retrieved . 
  32. ^ "Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Awards". South Carolina Arts Commission. 
  33. ^ "Vice President Joe Biden to deliver UofSC commencement address". University of South Carolina. Retrieved . 
  34. ^ "I Can Do Anything Foundation". Home Page. The I Can Do Anything Foundation. Retrieved 2012. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes