Calgary-born country singer Wes Mack juggles sad songs with acting gigs

Wes Mack lives a dual track creative life.

On the one hand, the Calgary-born country singer-songwriter – he’s actually Wesley MacInnes, but Wes Mack is his country name – is enjoying success with tunes like Fighting, an introspective tune about mental health he co-wrote with Tyler Joe Miller, Dave Faber and Dan Swinimer that became a hit when it was released at the height of the pandemic on Christmas Day in 2020.

More recently, he has a new single, Lookin for You, coming out Friday.

On the other hand, Mack had a recurring role on Heartland and lately has been appearing on the Netflix series The Imperfects, which shoots in Vancouver, where Mack calls home these days.

Mack has acted in a range of roles, including Smallville, Supernatural and Continuum, and Beyond Words: The J.K. Rowling Story.

A few years back, he acted with Liam Neeson in Cold Pursuit, a story of a grieving father who goes medieval on some gangsters when his son is killed.

What was that like?

“That was a pleasure. He’s a wonderful guy,” he says. “Between ‘action’ and ‘cut’ he was throwing me against a wall and tossing me around, and as soon as they called ‘cut’ he’d go, ‘Wesley! Is that all right for you?’ Yeah. I’m good. I’d be wiping his spit off my face! But he’s a gentle guy.”

On the other side of his creative life, there’s the sad songs and the torch and twang.

Mack says there’s no B side to either of his creative pursuits.

“They’re both (singing and acting) things I love doing. They’re creative things – different avenues – I like writing songs, making music – but I also love acting.

“It’s just two different sides (of your creativity).”

As far as song writing goes, that proved to be challenging, until Mack discovered a place where his creative life was allowed to flourish, instead of stalling in the face of deadlines, and expectations, and all the things that cause a person not to write anything when they’re on deadline.

“Both [of my most recent] songs came to me while I was having a shower,” he says.

“If you’re just doing something that occupies your brain, and you’re not actively thinking about songwriting, is the easiest way to get ideas. Just sing in the shower.”

Or, in the case of Fighting, it helped to get a few songwriters in a room together, rather than hashing out the song over Zoom.

“You put real people in the room, and we all start talking about stuff we’re going through in life and some of the struggles, and that song came out,” he says.

“We said at the time, this will never get played on the radio. It’s not super commercial.

“But people connected with it,” he says. “So that felt really cool.”

Mack has recorded a new album of tunes, and says he would like nothing better than to head out on tour, including a Calgary gig.

“I seriously miss going to Peter’s Drive-In and having a milkshake,” Mack says. “I’m a big fan of Spiro’s Pizza. I want to go geek out at Sentry Box.

“There’s a bunch of spots I gotta hit every time I’m back in town,” he adds.

“I miss that city. And I need to drink some beers at the Saddledome!”

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