Noel McKay

Noel McKay

Noel McKay was born and raised in Lubbock and the Hill Country of Texas and has traveled the world, singing his songs and playing a self-built acoustic guitar on world stages from Nashville, TN, Austin, TX, California, Ireland, Spain, and the U.K. Noel has co-written songs with David Olney, Guy Clark, Richard Dobson, Becky Warren, John Scott Sherrill, and Shawn Camp, and his songs are being recorded by Sarah Borges, Sunny Sweeney, and Guy. He has released four solo albums over the years, starting with Is That So Much To Ask (2015), Sketches of South Central Texas (2015), Blue, Blue, Blue (2021), and now the fourth, You Only Live Always, out in 2024.

Noel picked up the guitar around age nine and, by fifteen, was playing the beer joints and honky tonks in Bandera and the surrounding hill country. By the time he was in his early twenties while playing at a festival in Kerrville, TX, he met Guy Clark and formed a mentorship and friendship that still resonates with Noel to this day, long after Clark’s death.

Creating a band with his younger brother, Hollin, was a no-brainer, and the two enjoyed a long run of albums, shows, and press. The duo released four full albums (one produced by Gurf Morlix and the other by Lloyd Maines) and one EP between 1994 and 2003. Their songs garnered a lot of attention from Texas radio and press, but it was the legendary Ray Wylie Hubbard who called them “absolutely phenomenal!”

Noel has shared the stage with the best of the best: David Olney, Sunny Sweeney, Guy Clark, and Whitney Rose. Some of the stages and venues over the years have been the 30A Songwriters Festival (Destin, FL), Westport Bluegrass Festival (Ireland), Riquela Club (Spain), Hill Country BBQ (Washington, DC), Levon Helm Studios (Woodstock, NY), Gruene Hall (Austin, TX), and The Bluebird Café (Nashville, TN) and many more. He toured Florida with the late great David Olney a month before he died in January 2020.

Two cool facts about Noel: his grandfather started a radio station in Frío County, TX. KVWG (Pearsall, TX), “The Kind Voice of the Winter Garden,” a station that played everything from easy listening to country and western and Mexican music. Two songs he co-wrote with Guy Clark are now in the archives at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, TN.