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Local musician hosting album release party

Hope MacGregor has lived in Jackson for a little more than a year, but her side hustle as a musician has picked up considerably since moving here from North Carolina.

She grew up mostly in Central Illinois and had plans at one point to drop out of high school and move to Nashville to chase her dream.

“It started out in school with me getting super into music because I wanted to impress a boy, but then I got into show choirs and musical theater,” MacGregor said.

But she was talked out of that Nashville idea. So she’s gone about it a different way.

She spent eight years in the Army, and one of the things she did while in service (in addition to flying an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior recon helicopter for ground support troops in Afghanistan) was performing in the West Point Glee Club while in training (including performing “Til The Last Shot is Fired” with country superstar Trace Adkins during the Academy of Country Music Awards) and singing in praise band at post chapel on Sunday evenings.

“I was talking about this with my dad recently, and he’s a big procrastinator,” MacGregor said. “And we came to the conclusion that maybe I’m just a big procrastinator too since it took me 20 years to get to Tennessee.”

MacGregor had played music regularly on the side since she returned to civilian life and has consistently written songs throughout that time.

But things have changed in a good way for her musically since she moved to Jackson.

“I moved to West Tennessee and got the blues when I came here, and I drank rockabilly sodas, and that changed my sound definitely,” MacGregor said. “The songs I’ve written here recently have a different sound than those I wrote before I moved here.”

That sound started with her first public singing performance in West Tennessee – an open mic night hosted by local singer Hunter Cross at Baker Bros. BBQ.

“I went in and had a beer and got a feel for the place and just hung out at the bar and saw what others were doing, because I wanted to know if what I do would fit in,” MacGregor said, referencing what she did that night was an acoustic set with original music with just her and her guitar. “And it did, and I started some great relationships in the music scene here in Jackson that all go back to roots from that night.”

She developed friendships with different musicians around town, to the point that they’ve formed a band – Hope MacGregor and the Mac Attacks.

The band plays the fourth Friday of every month at Baker Bros. They’re in the rotation for live music at dinner time at Old Country Store as well. They’ve also played at other places around Jackson including Doe’s Eat Place. She’s also performed in Memphis and other places in the region.

And she’s recorded her first album with Jaxon Records.

It’s called “The Matriarch” that is set to drop on Oct. 28, a night after an album release show at Hub City Brewery.

“Matriarch” is a collection of 12 songs all written by MacGregor – a few with co-writers, but all are original.

She said the album is heavily influenced by a few things including her move to Jackson.

“I don’t think people who live here realize the vibrant music scene Jackson has,” MacGregor said. “Other towns the size of Jackson don’t normally have the number of musical artists that are as talented as the ones here – or the variety either.

“And every person I’ve met and gotten to know and had a chance to learn from, I can point to something on this album that I feel is influenced by them.”

MacGregor has her own past too that influences what she writes about.

“The band has a running joke with me that they hope I can get two songs into a set before I tell the audience that I’ve been divorced,” MacGregor said laughing. “But a lot of the songs we perform have some kind of connection to my former marriage or the divorce or the feelings I had to work through coming out of that time of my life.

“And I’m a better person. Stronger. And I think my music is better because of it. And I hope this album is full of songs that anyone who listens to it will want to play over and over again.”

Baker Bros. BBQ will cater the listening party at Hub City Brewing. Tickets for the show and dinner are $18. Show-only tickets are $8 and are available at hubcityevents.com.

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news

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