Jebb Mac might be a little more Nashville than Long Beach these days, but he’s not quite ready to retire those boogie shoes just yet.
“I like to say we’re country-ish,” said Mac — who grew up in Mullins as just Jebb McMillan.
“It’s country, but we’ve got a horn section, so we like to say it’s country funk.”
Makes sense, considering McMillan’s roots. After all, it wasn’t too many years ago he was rapping and rhyming as part of Justin Smith and the Folk Hop Band.
“Yeah, the Jebb Mac Band today is much different from the Folk Hop days,” Mac said, chuckling. “The music has changed, but that’s what happens. Music changes and evolves, but I’ve always been a fan of a well-written song, and I’ve always wanted to write good songs. We wanted to be different, but the goal has always been to write good songs.”
And that’s what Mac’s been focused on lately. He and his band have been traveling back and forth to Nashville, working on an EP with Dolly Parton’s producer, Kent Wells.
“That’s been a big deal for us, to get to sit down and write with some great Nashville writers,” Mac said. “We’ve got an EP out — it’s self-titled: ‘Jebb Mac Band’ — and we’re working on writing more songs. And the plan is to get back in the studio soon to cut more.”
In the meantime, the band stays busy playing regular gigs throughout the Pee Dee and along the Grand Strand. Along with its original material, the band plays some covers and some Top 40 favorites. And live shows have earned the band quite the following.
“We like to have fun while we’re playing,” Mac said, “and we want people to come out and have fun with us.”
Rounding out the band are Emery Henderson (trombone, percussion, vocals), Emma Hamilton (keys, vocals), Tyler Roberts (lead guitar, vocals), Jeff Springs (bass) Nelson James (drums), and Don Colton (saxophone, vocals).
Mac said he hopes the formula sticks and the band is on its way to bigger and better things.
“Right now, I have my day job and music is secondary, but I’d love to get to a place where we’re playing music full time,” Mac said. “That’s the ultimate goal – to get to a place where we can live comfortably writing, touring and making music. I’d love to go to Nashville, but I’d like to have something to go to Nashville for, not to just pick up and move.”
A self-taught guitar player, Mac said he learned the instrument through “YouTube videos and "Guitar for Dummies." After touring with The Folk Hop Band — even opening for major acts like Snoop Dogg and Collective Soul — he decided he wanted to do his own thing.
“I kind of wanted to try the solo thing, so I did,” he said. “My early influences were people like Lupe Fiasco, The Roots, Common. But these days, it’s more Zac Brown, Amos Lee, Ray LaMontagne. And I feel like what we’re doing now as a band still kind of incorporates the different influences. But it’s our own sound. I’m proud of what we’re doing and I’m looking forward to what the future brings.”
The band’s EP “Jebb Mac Band” is available for purchase on Spotify, iTunes and Google Play.