Father-son partnerships today are usually reserved for family businesses such as construction or plumbing. An association between the two in a musical band is virtually unheard of. Chris and Fred Mac Vittie would like to change that notion.
The duo which models itself after Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield, the Beatles and Crosby, Stills, and Nash has been together for several years. They formed when Chris, Fred’s 24-year-old son, was recruiting a backup singer to do the harmonies for 10 self-penned tunes. When Chris was unable to find a suitable backup during rehearsal — Fred stepped in for a song.
The combination produced such striking results that Fred quit his position as a consultant, and the two formed a full-time band.
“It just happened kind of naturally,” Chris said. “It’s all been kind of a surprise.”
Just like the Beatles, the Mac Vitties are known for producing acoustic-like love songs. Most of their songs are gently upbeat and optimistic, despite some low emotional spots. The Mac Vittie duo regularly uses the electric guitar, drums, keyboards and tambourine in performing their hits.”The Mac Vitties sound reminds me of Ian Matthews with Neil Young-like sensibilities, filtered through Everly Brothers extended harmonies,” John Hammel, host of Mozart to Motorhead on WNTI radio in Hackettstown, N.J. said after a recent Mac Vitties performance.
Over the past couple years, the band has made a living performing in front of small crowds in venues such as coffee houses in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and other spots in the New England area. Last month the duo received rave reviews after performing on the cooking show Emeril Live. Chris refers to the performance as their “Ed Sullivan show.” Despite their success, the Mac Vitties have encountered several bumps along the road, in terms of attracting audiences.
For instance, while performing on the sidewalk at Quincy Market in Boston over the Summer, the duo found it difficult to maintain a sizeable audience for a long time.
“We have to capture that crowd,” said Chris. “They’re wandering through shopping, they’re not generally there for music.”
However, the Mac Vitties have drawn more from their experience than just attracting crowds and earning a living. “When we’re doing it, we’re just having fun,” said Fred.
Come see the Mac Vitties as they present a free concert at the Common Grounds Coffeehouse this Friday from 8 – 9:30 p.m. Later this month they will perform in Washington, CT before making their first appearance in New York City in early Feb.