LJ Makkay


British singer-songwriter LJ Makkay spent 30 years working in the music industry in America as a production and tour manager for some major international artists as well as promoting his own shows playing country and blues across the UK.


His previous four album releases received great reviews from the UK rock and blues press. The Wild Evil and Cocos Corner albums received extensive radio play and included some very special guests with appearances from Brian James on guitar (The Dammed) and Simon Hanson on drums (Squeeze). The singles released from those albums Desert Sands, Honey Bee and Holy Moly and a final offering from Long John’s Killer Blues Collective (Devils Train) were all well received.

LJ worked and became friends with one of his idols, Kenny Rogers, on his last UK tour. LJ oversaw the tour including the legendary Glastonbury performance. LJ was playing blues at the time and played Kenny his album Cocos Corner in the dressing room at the NEC in Birmingham. Kenny told LJ he would have a great voice for country music and it was that which prompted LJ to turn a corner in his songwriting. 

LJ has now dusted himself down and put a new lineup together with his new band LJ Makkay And The Sixty Six emerging with a fresh new country rock sound and a stunning debut album Bridges. 

LJ said: “The new album is a direction I’ve been waiting to take for a while now both lyrically and with my love of country music. It’s also a more personal approach to my writing which is something I couldn’t comfortably commit to within my previous writing. I was very lucky and honoured to work with Kenny Rogers, a legend of country music, on his final UK tour before his passing and played him a few of my songs while we were on the road. It was Kenny who said I had a great voice for country music and it got me thinking about the album and if I could truly find the deep passion and strength you need to write country music songs.

“The new album Bridges is a change of clothes metaphorically speaking, truly a songwriting journey influenced by the American music that’s been the soundtrack to my life – rock, blues, folk and, of course, country music.

“As an Englishman living and travelling in America for many years I was constantly absorbing the diverse cultures and landscapes that America has to offer and, while driving the highways and freeways, listening to the radio stations and seeing some of the great bands playing in the bars, I really did get American music branded deep into my soul and for that I am so truly thankful. 

“The album Bridges has country songs with stories which are written about the highs and lows, the love and the losses that I’ve experienced in my life and I’m sure the songs will relate to listeners. Bring Back the Golden Days is a look over my shoulder and a salute to some of my friends who’ve not made it this far and the song Gods Country is a comment on the challenges we are facing in the world today with our climate changing.

“I’m so looking forward to getting back out on the road again with this material. It’s powerful and written from my heart and I’ve been blessed to have some great musicians join me on this work. Nick Mailing, who has produced the album, plays bass in the band. Guests on several songs include Dave Banks on lead guitars and harmonies and Jade Daniel Williamson. We will be touring the UK in the autumn of 2024.