About My Work

As with much of U.S. history, the extraordinary origins of American roots music traditions have been largely lost to the past. What we are often taught instead is a narrative that supports the power structure of our society. Yet by listening to and investigating our early music, we can find endless examples of people coming together to challenge systems of oppression - women confronting patriarchal systems, working folks calling out economic inequality, people boldly naming the legacy of slavery, imprisonment, and racial injustice that is so deeply rooted in our nation’s history and legal system. The music of our country is defined by the people of our country: complex, multi-faceted, resilient, and vibrant people, creating art that reflects the realities of their lives.


I see music as the map that traces the history of cultural collaboration through time. As we connect as people, we shift our musical landscape and forge new paths. I see music as a way to engage with a rich, complicated, and often difficult past, to confront injustice, and redefine the boundaries of society. Music is a way that I am able to be a part of something bigger than myself. My music is my path toward better understanding who I am, and contributing to the creation a more equitable, safe, and joyful world.


McKain Lakey is a musician whose work investigates themes of oppression and empowerment through the richness of American folk traditions. An instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter, McKain performs as a solo artist, as part of the duo Woolly Breeches, and with other bands by invitation. She is an educator and facilitator who works with groups of all ages and backgrounds to deepen their understanding of the historical and technical foundations of music and to encourage personal exploration of voice and creative power. She tours nationally, and recently participated as one of six women songwriters in Hedgebrook’s prestigious 2019 songwriter residency. McKain holds a degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.

McKain is also an experienced audio engineer who has produced countless live music events, as a front-of-house engineer, monitor engineer, and stage/production manager, in addition to her work as a studio engineer/producer. Recent projects include international tours with acclaimed band MarchFourth of Portland, OR, and mixing work on “The Gods Are Made of Mud”, the latest studio album by Hot Damn Scandal (Bellingham, WA).


"Through beautiful and intense original compositions and covers from days gone by, McKain brought goose bumps the whole way through.  Holding a degree from Berklee College of Music and trained in the clawhammer style of banjo, she mixed musical virtuosity with one of the most amazing voices you will hear anywhere. A time capsule unearthed, fine-tuned and re-imagined, McKain Lakey shared her exciting perspective on Americana with fullness of heart and soul." -Frank Giokas, What's Up Magazine

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