Before there was the infamous haunted Bobby Mackey’s Music World in Wilder, there was Robert Randall Mackey, the country music singer. Otherwise known as “Bobby,” Mackey was born in Lewis County, Kentucky in 1948, instantly cherishing music of Hank Williams on the Jukebox and the Grand Ole Opry on the radio. When young Mackey was just four, he won first prize at a local talent contest singing Your Cheatin’ Heart. Four years later, he received his first Roy Rogers guitar, setting the sightings for his music career. With $75 in his pocket and a guitar in his hand, Bobby set off to pursue his dream to play and sing in a real country band. After working on the railroad in Covington, he became the lead singer in Red Jenkins and The Country Ladds. In 1978, Bobby opened what we now know of as Bobby Mackey’s, along the Licking River, next to the same railroad track he was previously employed, complete with a ghost tour, mechanical bull, and of course traditional country music to boot from Bobby Mackey and The Big Mac Band.
Bobby Mackey’s quickly became a popular music venue stocked full of cowboy hats and boots and of course preexisting tragedies, instantly earning paranormal success internationally with the likes of Ghost Hunters and others and becoming one of the most haunted places on earth. Although not a believer himself, Mackey had similar success with his spine-chilling song, Johanna, based on a haunting at the bar, “Now some may not believe it and I won’t say it’s true but some of us have smelled your rose perfume.” Bobby Mackey’s slogan, “Come for the ghosts, stay for the music” was fitting. Well over the last three decades, Mackey has conjured his own potion of traditional country music his way, the real, true, traditional way, never disappointing country music fans, earning a spot in the Northern Kentucky Music Legends Hall of Fame. With influences of Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, George Jones, to name a few, that is noted in his recently released single, That Jones Boy Is Gone, a salute to the departed George Jones, from the album, Country Music Lives On. Bobby is hauntingly a man of stability, focus, and commitment, that is ghostly familiar to the pitch-perfect honky-tonk style in songs such as Pepsi Man and Hero Daddy, a tear-jerking ballet from a father to his daughter, “I ain’t no Superman. I’m not at all the hero my angel thinks I am.” If you are a fan of true, traditional country music, do not let the spirits scare you away from the legend of Bobby Mackey this year at Buckle Up!
You can catch Bobby Mackey at Buckle Up Music Festival Sunday July 20th on the Amphitheater Stage at 5:45 and again in the VIP tent at 8:15!