Album Review: Alex MacKinnon “Two Sides”

Fusing elements of bluegrass, gospel, hymns, funk, R&B, reggae, and more, Two Sides is a very timely release by multi-instrumentalist Alex MacKinnon. Both striking and comforting, this eclectic collection is woven with themes of social consciousness, the need for equality, and gentle reminders to enjoy the simple things life has to offer.


Alex combines his talents on select tracks with Nate Allen and John Feliciano, both on upright bass, as well as vocalist Sharina Louise. Alex himself plays all the remainder of the instrumentation on the album.



Track 1 – Two Sides: This percussive introduction to the album hits to the core, showcasing syncopated rhythms and changing grooves throughout the song.


Track 2 – The River​ (feat. Nate Allen)​: A very sweet piece with influences taken from gospel and hymns. Alex does a beautiful job painting a serene scene through his lyrics.


Track 3 – Running (feat. Sharina Louise)​: ​Sharina Loiuse’s makes her first appearance on the album in a cloud of funk and R&B, breaking the mold of any expectations brought forth by the first two tracks. While the verses are playful and sweet, the chorus drives in a clear direction.


Track 4 – Fall Back Down: ​Resilience and burning determination are spelled out in a groove, it’s clear that Alex finds his strength in funk.


Track 5 – Open Wounds​ (feat​ Sharina Louise): The first thing that comes to mind when listening to OPEN WOUNDS is the spiritual ​Sometimes I feel Like a Motherless Child. Full of soul, pain, and endurance under oppression, Sharina’s rich voice pierces through with great conviction.


Track 6 – Laser Beams​ (fea. Sharina Louise)​: ​Showing another dimension of Alex’s musical talents, LASER BEAMS is an anxiety-reducing feel good reggae song sharing empowerment through relaxation.


Track 7 – Fisherman’s Blues: ​An easy-listening blues, exploring envy, patience, disappointment, and potential starvation. Fisherman’s Blues, stays true to the traditional themes of the blues and is lyrically biting.


Track 8 – 300 Houses Away (feat. John Feliciano)​: ​Inspired by the styling’s of Django Reinhardt, Alex brings another easy-listening tune for a lazy Sunday afternoon.


Track 9 – Bushwhackin’​ (feat. Nate Allen)​: ​The opening of BUSHWACKIN’ beautifully showcases the lower range of Alex’s voice, and opens up into a foot stomping, bluegrass vibe that opens up his inner ramblin’ man.


Track 10 – Thinkin’ of You: ​Sexy, slow, and funky. THINKIN’ OF YOU is layered with multiple textures throughout the song, and uses an organ to give a very satisfying push-and-pull feeling.


Track 11 – Rowboat Season​ (​feat. Nate Allen): ​This folky waltz is full of the wanderlust every New Yorker can relate to after spending too much time cooped up in the big city.


Track 11 – Chicago Green (feat. Sharina Louise)​:​ This​ tongue-in-cheek shuffle is specially crafted to cure a hangover after drinking too much and partying too hard.


Track 13 – Tuesday: ​Filled with sex appeal and tasty licks, TUESDAY rides smooth like honey.


Track 14 – Forever: ​A modern hymn for the complex world we currently face. Seeking hope and giving love, FOREVER is a song for everyone, gently urging to take advantage of the short time granted living on this plane and making the most of everything offered


To hear more of Alex MacKinnon, please head over to his soundcloud page:


Two Sides


Michelle Eliza
Michelle Eliza
Michelle Eliza is a recovering opera singer, who sought recovery in rock n roll music and roller derby. Michelle moved to New York City after earning her bachelor degree in music from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. After a few years singing in operatic productions, Michelle exchanged heels and high notes for wheels and loud noises. She currently lives in Brooklyn where she sings with the rock band Schmeeze.