Interview with Bobby Mackey

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Bobby Mackey: Country Music Artist

Bobby Mackey is a traditional country music singer whose career has spanned forty years. His musical style can be described by his loyalty to Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Buck Owens, Conway Twitty and Johnny Paycheck, and is the foundation for his musical success.

Mackey opened Bobby Mackey’s in September 1978 in Wilder, KY along the Licking River, next to the same railroad track that he worked in his youth). The nightclub’s slogan “Come for the ghosts, stay for the music” became a popular quote as the club’s popularity began to rise. Bobby Mackey’s has been featured on network television shows such as Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Most Terrifying Places in America, My Ghost Story, and A Haunting. USA Today Quotes Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures as saying Bobby Mackey’s is “one of the ten most haunted places in America.”

Jessica Gilbert: Bobby, it’s such a wonderful honor to have you in TSM. Thanks so much for taking time out if your busy schedule to do an interview for the magazine.

Bobby Mackey: Thank you Jessica for asking.

Jessica Gilbert: What inspired you to get into music?

Bobby Mackey: The first time I heard Hank Williams on the radio at four years old my life was changed forever and my direction in life was set.

Jessica Gilbert: Can you recall the very first song you ever wrote?

Bobby Mackey: The first one I can’t remember but my Mother says it was “Thirty Pieces of Silver.” She taught it to me when I first started to talk. However, the first song I do remember was Hank William’s song, “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” I sang it in my first talent contest at four years old and won first prize which was a five dollar bill.

Jessica Gilbert: What’s your process for writing lyrics? And where do you get the inspiration for your songs?

Bobby Mackey: An inspiration can come from out of the blue for me but I have to act on it almost immediately to really get inspired by it. It always helps to have a good idea where to go with it. The new country songs today don’t have as much to say these days as they did in the past. They crank up the music and bury the lyrics to where you can’t understand what the song is about. It works well for them, who am I to criticism it. It’s a new day a new time.

Jessica Gilbert: Tell us about your CD Country Music Lives On.

Bobby Mackey: The album of my career. I wrote all the songs, produced it, published it, and released it on my own label, Shaunita Records. It is going over very well and is available on iTunes, Amazon, and

Jessica Gilbert: Who are your major music influences?

Bobby Mackey: Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, George Jones.

Jessica Gilbert: I know that your club is well-known for its paranormal activity. What was the first indication shown that it wasn’t your typical night club?

Bobby Mackey: In 1978 just before opening, Carl Lawson, an eighteen year old boy who had grown up and still lived next door to the place began trying to tell me about strange happenings that would occur in the building. I had just hired him as caretaker and cleanup trying to get the night club open and I told him to not mention this to anyone. I was investing everything I had into this business and I wanted it to be a place where I could sing my country music and have a dance floor full of people having a good time and not dwelling on some ghostly aspect. I never have believed any of it buy in spite of how l felt about it, and after 10 years of keeping it quite, along came a friend of mine, Douglas Hensley, interested in writing a book about the place. Through Carl Lawson’s guidance He authored the book, Hellsgate and the story was out. The story has been featured on Ghost Adventures several times and piqued the interest of people from all over the world. I still don’t see what the fuss is about, but I have found out that more people believe in the paranormal then don’t.

Jessica Gilbert: If yoBobby Mackey head shotu had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?

Bobby Mackey: I’m doing exactly what I want to do in life singing my country music in my own night club, Bobby Mackey’s Music World, every Friday and Saturday night. Fans come from all over to visit us and for thirty-six years now I have been living the dream. I would not have it any other way.

Jessica Gilbert: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?

Bobby Mackey: “The Way It Was Is Still The Way It Is”

Jessica Gilbert: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more about you and your music?

Bobby Mackey: Visit us at Bobby Mackey’s in Wilder, KY on Friday and Saturday nights for the total Bobby Mackey’s experience, including tours to the basement to view the infamous well Hellsgate, or check us out on: FaceBook, Twitter @BobbyMackey,, Itunes, and Amazon. For two hour afternoon tours and five hour overnight investigations Sun-Thurs contact: Laura Roland here  (859) 907-7541,

Jessica Gilbert: Thanks again for doing this interview and wish you continued success with your music. Hope that one day I can experience your music in person. Being a music lover, I’d come for the music and maybe stay for the ghosts if I’m brave enough. 🙂


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