Hollow River Blog

Chicken Soup For the Quarantined Soul 

Or alternatively, Chicken Noodle Soup For An Army 

Quarantine sucks, and if you get sick hopefully you can make this soup, or if you know someone who gets sick you can make it for them. 

I understand this is not a real food blog so I’ll keep personal shit to a minimum and only say something personal if its a personal food preference. For example carrots, but those death sticks will have their time.. 


2-4 32 oz boxes of Chicken Stock

(2 boxes minimum, the other boxes can be switched out for equal parts water, and I usually do. You can mix the water with some flour if you want you soup a little thicker but I found thats not super necessary.) 

Whole clove of Garlic, minced or finely cut 

*You really only need half but FUCK IT. Cant smell your garlic pores through your zoom meeting* 

One large yellow onion finely cut 

Couple stalks of celery finely cut 

*I am allergic to carrots and prefer chicken soup that makes me feel better rather than quickens my death but you can put some in yours I guess* 

2 lbs of Boneless Chicken Thighs— 

*Dark meat all the way. Dark meat is a big fattier which helps it stop from drying out which is a big problem for white meat on the best of days. You would think that the white meat in soup wouldn't be a problem because its essential surrounded by only non-dry things but trust me, it’ll be a problem* 

Small Size Pasta of Choice

*I always read you should use egg noodle but never had. My preferred pasta is macaroni or small shells, mostly because I make a big batch and eat it for a few days and the pasta will continue to expand over a few days. Made it with Penne once and had a bowl of giant noodles by day 2* 


Essential Spices- Basil, Parsley, Bay Leaf, Oregano, salt, pepper 

IF YOU LAZY— Italian, Salt, Pepper but c'mon get your shit together and get some basic spices for $1 on amazon bro (and I know its a bro)

Optional But Awesome Spices

— Montreal Steak Spice brings out nice smokey notes in the Soup 

— Old Bay for a kick thats not really spicy 

— Cayenne Pepper if you want to breathe fire through your nose 

*Use any combo of the three spices to your hearts desire. Old Bay cut with some Montreal Steak Spice is my go to, but when I’m really sick and need to clear those sinuses its all about the cayenne baby* 

How much Spice? Cant go wrong with anything leaf based, but keep the CS rule (Couple Shakes) when dealing with anything Salt based. You can always add more, too much can really ruin it and you can take it out. (Well, you can add a potato but thats its own thing) 

Also optional -

Red Wine- gives the soup another dimension and skunked wine you left open from a few nights ago would work just fine. No need to waste good wine on it, but it could be a good reason to crack open a bottle if you still needed a reason. 

THE RECIPE - Chicken Soup For the Quarantined Soul

1.) Finely chopped or minced garlic with Olive Oil in pot on LOW 

2.) Add finely chopped Onion and Celery and some MO FUCKING BUTTER. Keep on for 5-minutes on LOW before adding spices 

*Some people like chunks of celery in their soup. I HATE this cause I find the celery gets soggy and gross, so I use it for flavouring purposes, hence why its finely chopped like the garlic and onions. My chunk will come form the chicken and noodles instead 

3.) Add BASIL, SALT, PEPPER, and some of whichever of your Optional ingredients you want. We are cooking the spice into the vegetables, so that when we add the broth the vegetables can flavour the broth more and bring more dimensions to the soup. Cook on LOW to LOW-MEDIUM (Definitely not medium, you hitting 4-5 on your burner you too hot) for another 5-10 minutes 

4.) If you have it, add you red wine for a minute or two after the Vegetables have browned 

5.) Add Chicken Stock/Water. Bring the burner up to just above medium heat until it comes to a boil, then bring the burner back down to around 4. 

6.) Add Boneless Chicken Thighs directly into the pot, cooking the meat in the stock and further deepening the chicken flavours. Cook for 10-15 minutes 

7.) Take the Chicken Thighs out and into a large bowl. After the Chicken is out put in your pasta. 
*Only do this if you do not mind Soggy Noodles for leftovers. There are ways to avoid this but I don't give a shit about that right now because I love me some soggy noodles* 

8.) Use two forks to pull the chicken apart for a rustic feel (think Swiss Chalet soup for my Canadian peeps). You can also put the chicken onto a cutting board and cut into chunks for a more deliberate (read FUCKING BORING) aesthetic. 

9.) Put the chicken back in the pot and serve when the noodles are ready. Pair with saltines or Grilled Cheese with a tomato slice which I heard is technically a melt. 

And that is Chicken Soup for an Army. If you feel yourself start to get sick make a big batch of this to hold you through the next few days. 

Stay healthy, and support local musicians if you can because the creative people in your lives are really hurting. 

I also have an EP you can stream but it's real sad and life is kind of sad right now so maybe don't. Or do if that sounds like your thing.


Making of an EP- Pt 1- Choosing the musicians for the 'Bleed Only Water' EP 

There’s a lot of work that goes into making records, even shorter records like EPs. Hundreds of hours have been poured in before the record button is pressed, from songwriting to arranging and if you’re smart some basic production demos to help guide your team towards your vision, even if it is a bare bones version.  

But let’s assume you have all of that. You have an idea bursting out of you that needs to be heard. What’s the next steps? How do you make this into something that can be heard by people? 

First step is creating your team. The notion of the mad scientist producer isolated in his room isn’t based in falsehoods, but the idea grossly underestimates the importance of collaboration in the creative process.  

That being said, the two most important investments when making a record for a independent musician are  

1.) Musicians 

2.) Producer/Engineer 

I’ll talk more about how I met my producer/engineer next week, but for the moment I want to highlight the amazing players on this record, both of whom I was very lucky to have met and played with.  

The best thing about my experience the past few years has been befriending some real top tier musicians, including my good friend Andreas Karall who played drums on the Bleed Only Water EP and is one of the best friends I've made in my time away. 

Andy and I met the first week at Berklee in an intro Music Theory class where we were each impressed by the others work ethic. He currently tours in the band Coffeeshock Company in Europe and releases drumming videos on his youtube channel. Check out this AWESOME Foo Fighters cover. 


Andy was a performance major at school and it shows. His practice routine often leaves me exhausted just thinking about it, and his genuine love of making playing is infectious. I had no doubt that given the opportunity he would make my songs sound better than they did in my head, and he delivered. 

Through Andy I met Brad Williamson, who quite literally might be the best bass player I’ve ever seen with my real eye balls.  

I first met Brad last September when I had a rare Hollow River performance at school and needed to put together some players. I asked Andy if he had any bass players who would be interested and he enthusiastically recommended Brad. After 1/2 an hour of practicing for the performance I knew that I had found my players for my next project. There was a chemistry in the air that made me feel comfortable as a songwriter and performer.

Brad’s bass sound is extra unique due to him playing a fretless bass, a concept so crazy to me I have to see it to believe it, as I’m sure you do to. So here’s a link to video Brad did mashing up a bunch of Michael Jackson tunes to show just how amazing this guy is. 


Brad plays in a number of bands including Vicarious as well as The Cotones who are currently recording their first full length album. 

I’m excited for you to hear both of these monster players on the record very soon. 

Who/What is Hollow River 

Who is Hollow River? Is it a band? Is it a guy? The short answer is yes to both. 

Hollow River is the name that I, Mark MacDonald, have chosen to release all creative releases under from this point forward, and while this moment in time that focus is on music, Hollow River will also be the pseudonym for any writing or any other creative pursuits that the future might hold. 

The next logical question everyone has is why not just stick with Mark MacDonald? 

It turns out that Mark MacDonald is a very common name. This fact became obvious at a gig when a bunch of people who the opening act brought out told me that they had been listening to all my albums on their way to the show.  

The only problem was I hadn’t released an album yet….

Ok, I still haven’t, but I’m working on it… (*shameless plug for the Spiderweb Eyes Ep to be released September 2017*

I soon realized that this would be a problem I would have to overcome in any industry I choose, with whatever creative project I decide I want to do next their is already ‘Mark MacDonald’ doing that. 

So i had to brainstorm a pseudonym which was a pretty bizarre experience. Not everyone gets the opportunity to name themselves, and I wanted to make sure I chose something I could live with for a long time, with some meaning to me. I brainstormed with a friend from my writing group who had the idea to look at some old maps of the area near my cottage, the place consistent place in my life that I have been able to call home. 

That’s when we saw it, Hollow River.  

So going forward, anything that I work on will be credited to Hollow River, starting right now. I’m excited to take you on this journey with me. Thanks for all the support. 


Stay Up To Date

Hollow along for updates on Hollow Rivers upcoming release, home recording tips, and other various music posts...