FORREST MCDONALD :
Forrest McDonald Band wins the Central Virginia Blues Challenge and will be competing for the world title beginning January 29, 2019.
Fifty-four seconds into the 1978 Bob Seger classic, Old Time Rock and Roll, you’ll hear what is perhaps Forrest McDonald’s biggest claim to fame: the iconic guitar solo! It resulted from being in the right place at the right time. At his father’s suggestion, McDonald stopped by the famed Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama one day and a producer asked if he had his guitar. McDonald laid down the track that two months later was purchased by Seger for the song.
Born in 1950 in Austin, Texas, McDonald made his way to the Richmond area six years ago from Atlanta. McDonald says he’s had a burning desire to be a professional musician since he was 14, learning to write songs and learning to play blues, jazz, rock, R & B and folk music. When I started, McDonald admits, I had no rhythm and was tone deaf. He gave up the drums, picked up a guitar and never looked back.
He has a platinum record for the Seger album with his guitar work, Stranger in Town, and a gold one for the 2002 soundtrack to the Sean Penn movie, I Am Sam, on which he sang backup on several Beatles cover tunes.
McDonald has written nearly 200 songs and is currently working on developing as a solo acoustic artist, producing a band, performing with his wife, Kaylon, and writing an autobiography with what he calls a unique look at how America has changed over his lifetime.
Forrest has been selected by Boomer Magazine with CBS 6 News as a Richmonder with the “IT” factor.
He will be featured in the December 1 issue of Boomer Magazne and will be on good Morning Richmond with Cheryl Miller Wednesday December 14.
This will be a great interview and live performance. Set your DVR’s.
Thanks to all our fans for sending “Certified Blue”to # 4 on the
It has an all star lineup.
Including harp Masters Jon Liebman, Little Ronnie Owens
Sax wizzard fromerly with the Albert Collins Band “Chuck Williams”
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April 2010 “Certified Blue” hits number 4 on the blues power rankings.
World Talent Records
BY PETER “BLEWZZMAN” LAURO, © May 2010
It amazes me that as talented as this man is, with as many releases that he’s had, and the number of great artists he’s worked with, that the name Forrest McDonald isn’t a household name in the blues community. Although he’s not all that young, let’s all hope – for the good of the music – that he doesn’t have to pay another 20 – 30 years of dues before enjoying a more widespread recognition. After all, this is the blues, and as the song goes….. “It Be’s That Way Sometimes”.
To be exact, “Certified Blue” is Forrest’s eleventh release on his own World Talent Records. On this project, besides playing guitar and organ, Forrest steps in front of the microphone for the very first time. That’s right, after all these years, for the first time on a record, he actually sings a song. There’ll be more on that when I get to the song. The rest of the ensemble on the disc are: Kaylon (Mrs.) McDonald on vocals; Lee Gammon on bass; Roddy Barnes on piano and organ; Rich Ianucci on organ; Terry Garland and Barry Richman on guitar; John McKnight and Bob Saydlowski on drums; John Lieberman on harp & vocals; “Little Ronnie” Owens on harp; and Chuck Williams on tenor & alto sax.
On the opener, Forrest and Barry have a good time trading off guitar leads as Lee and John are maintaining the fierce pace with rippin’ rhythm behind them. All while Kaylon belts out about driving down 95 “Keeping The Blues Alive” – something we are all hoping gets achieved. This is the first of nine McDonald originals.
Just as mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce make the turkey better, the saxophone, harp and organ do the same thing for a blues song. Chuck, Ronnie and Rich do just that on the swinging “Till The Morning Light”, which is surely a fast dancer’s delight.
“Rock & Roll Bye, Bye, Bye” is one of two tracks that feature Jon Liebman on both vocal and harp, and he’s all over both of them. Along with that, the groove that Lee, John, and Rich are in on bass, drums and organ, make this one hell of a track.
“You Keep Telling Me” is the kind of stuff that attracted me to Forrest way back in ’99 when he released “Spirit Of the Blues”. That disc was full of straight up scorching guitar riffs, one track right after another, and that’s what I’m hearing right now. This is what I call the blues.
Although he won’t give much competition to Darrell Nulisch as my all time favorite male blues vocalist, Forrest does a heck of a good job on “Double Back” – his debut as a singer. As a matter of fact, part of the lyrics have Forrest singing “…..I’m just a guitar player……”. Well Forrest, that’s no longer true.
The discs, and maybe the decades, best drum work can be heard right here on “Piney Brown”. I’ve got to tell you, John McKnight is about to take off on this one. With Forrest and Jon chasing him on guitar and harp, this one’s a total rush.
The title track’s been “Blewzz approved” which definitely means it’s “Certified Blue”. All it takes for that to happen is burning blues guitar work, soulful and passionate vocals, great rhythm and some sharp harpin’….which are all right here.
Other tracks on “Certified Blue” include: “Mess Around With Love”, “Danced Our Last Dance”, “Double Dipping Man”, “Trying To Get By”, “Gas Pump Blues Revisited”, and “Chicken Scratch Boogie”.
You can visit Forrest at www.forrestmcdonald.com. Once you’re impressed with what you read, pick up a few of his discs and be impressed with what you hear. Of course you’ll tell him the Blewzzman sent ya, right?
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Blues editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
Living Blues Issue #149
A Decade of Blues
World Talent Records
Forrest McDonald may be best known to the wider world as the man who played the instantly recognizable guitar solo in Bob Seger’s classic Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll. He has some serious rock chops, having traded licks with Robert Planet and Jeff Beck and toured with Alice Cooper and Edgar Winter. But McDonald’s first love was blues, and he has built up strong root credentials, too. McDonald has played with Jimmy Reed Jr. and Bonnie Bramlett. He has released over ten blues albums under his own name, creating a discography that more than proves McDonald is no blues lightweight.
With A Decade of Blues, a compilation album is finally available that showcases the best work of this prodigious and multitalented artist between 1997 and 2007.
Not surprisingly (from a man who impressed Bob Seger and has jammed with both Johnny Winter and Eddie Van Halen), one of the most outstanding features of the disc is its diversity. The sheer number of styles and genres McDonald has mastered is almost disconcerting. The album opens with Hard to Love a hard-biting and swaggering blues tune that clearly owes much to McDonald’s days as a rock ‘n’ roll guitar virtuoso. From there, it moves onto a cover of Jimmy Witherspoon’s Times Getting Tougher Than Tough, where McDonald creates a full, rich R&B session sound. This is followed by Work Work a classic piano boogie-woogie—as it might have sounded as produced by Sun Records’ Sam Phillips (and supplemented by a swank saxophone and fierce guitar work). And it doesn’t stop there. McDonald also pulls of heart-rending R&B ballads (River of Tears), soul/funk anthems a la the Bar-Kays (Going Back to Memphis), and just about everything in between.
Much of the credit for the musical success of the disc belongs to an incredibly solid and versatile line of musicians in McDonald’s band, including keyboardist and sometime vocalist Raymond Victor (who has been playing with McDonald for more than 30 years), vocalist and rhythm guitarist Andrew Black, Diane Dutra on bass, and percussionist Chuck CapDeville. McDonald’s wife, Kaylon, an accomplished musician in her own right, adds gorgeous full alto vocals to two tracks.
Few albums, even compilation albums, in recent years have included so many truly amazing tracks representing so many different styles of blues and R&B. To borrow a phrase from the world of McDonald’s non-blues music, Decade of Blues rocks.
~ Jon Black
Atlanta’s Forrest and Kaylon McDonald play an agreeable brand of blues rock. Among the better tracks, “I’ll Be There for You,” with it’s old time feel, sounds great; the slow blues “I Feel So Bad” is a gritty guitar workout for Forrest; and the original ballad “I Want To Know,” with its dramatic, familiar changes, is a potential standard.
New From Italy 3/1/09
Forrest McDonald “A Decade Of Blues”. World Talent 2008. Músico formado dentro de los cánones del blues clásico de los cincuenta, Forrest McDonald creció escuchando y comprando discos de Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker o Sonny Boy Williamson, y empezó a tocar la guitarra acústica sacando canción tras canción de todos aquellos héroes suyos. Desde entonces Forrest ha estado al pie del cañón con más de cuatro mil actuaciones a sus espaldas en treinta y cinco años de carrera.
“A Decade Of Blues”, es una perfecta muestra de su enorme talento y maestría. Forrest posee un estilo intenso y un fraseo elegante y hábil, que nos ofrece a lo largo de dieciocho blues de espléndida y maravillosa factura, combinando canciones propias con varios blues tradicionales y alguna que otra joya de T-Bone Walker o Jimmy Whiterspoon. Las canciones que aquí se recogen pertenecen a la década que va de 1997 al 2007 y la variedad de músicos que intervienen dan mas interés, si cabe, a este trabajo que personalmente me ha sorprendido gratamente, especialmente la aportación de su amigo, el impresionante cantante y pianista Raymond Victor, que está realmente magnífico. Un disco de los que dejan huella y que hay que tener en casa.
Forrest is musician who has developed his style on fifties classic blues. He grew up listening and buying Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker or Sonny Boy Williamson records. In fact he learned to play acoustic guitar playing and playing again over those recordings until he got the songs. Since then on Forrest McDonald has always been on the job with more than four thousand gigs in his back along his thirty five years of a non stop career. “A Decade Of Blues” is the perfect example of his huge musical talent. Forrest has got an intense style and a skilful elegant phrasing he gives us along eighteen splendid well done blues, combining his own songs with different traditional blues and some T-Bone Walker or Jimmy Whiterspoon jewels.
All cd songs come from the decade between 1997 to 2007 and the variety of performing musicians give still more interest to this last piece of work that has greatly surprised me, specially the amazing work of his friend and impressive singer and piano player Raymond Victor, who does an unbelievable playing. A record that will leave a deep mark on you, if you get a copy. It is truly GREAT
Tom Hyslop Blues Review – The Worlds Best Blues Magazine Feb/Mar 2008
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Forrest and Kaylon McDonald team up for a delightful musical journey through the various hues of the blues on their first CD together, There’s Nothing Wrong With Dreaming. Forrest’s guitar riffs are the centerpiece of each track. Kaylon’s credible vocals are a comfortable fit and she has the ability to turn the original compositions into blues standards. The CD also features an array of stellar musicians — from Ken Rhyne on harp to Rich Ianucci on Hammond B-3 with John McKnight behind the drum kit — making this one a keeper.
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There’s Nothing Wrong With Dreaming is Forrest McDonald’s first collaboration with his wife Kaylon. Those familiar with Forrest’s guitar playing won’t be disappointed with what they hear. Adding to Forrest’s exceptional guitar technique is Kaylon’s blues infused vocals. Kaylon’s style takes me back; her voice reminds me of the torch singers of the 40’s, she has a jazz -influenced bluesy style that’s very easy to listen to and the perfect compliment to Forrest’s high caliber guitar licks. There are 13 well-written and produced original compositions on this CD.
Mary — Mary4Music.com “Since 1998, the Internet’s Most Comprehensive Blues and Indie Music Network”
‘Forrest & Kaylon McDonald’
‘There’s Nothing Wrong with Dreaming’
– Label: ‘World Talent Records’
– Genre: ‘Blues’ – Release Date: ‘2007’
Our Rating: *********
“There’s Nothing Wrong with Dreaming” offers a two-for-one package.
Often you will discover a female blues singer with a voice from the heavens, or a blues guitarist who can crank the most smoking riffs. But both on the same CD? Forrest and Kaylon McDonald (http://www.forrestmcdonald.com) provide a two-fisted punch on “There’s Nothing Wrong with Dreaming,” a nicely polished blues record that’ll appease not just the purists but curious pop listeners as well.
Much of the blues I hear through the independent scene is raw and monotonous. There’s a vast number of undisciplined musicians out there who need to gain more experience before entering the studio. However, it’s not just experience in playing the blues but living it as well. For the blues comes from the heart, the soul; it is the essence of rock and roll.
“My tears are falling down,” Kaylon laments on “I Feel So Bad,” her voice melting in a melancholic drawl as Forrest simply scorches with his guitar. That is textbook blues, brimming with intense, open emotions and sizzling catharsis. “Boy I’m Busy Now” is a pointed kiss-off that kicks you in the gut. It’s so refreshing to hear the blues from a woman’s perspective; that “woman done me wrong” thang becomes old hat after a while so it’s a blast to hear us guys getting the slam.
There’s versatility here, too. The timely and witty “Gas Pump Blues” has vibrant pop hooks while “You’re My Dream” flirts with jazz and “I’ll Be There ” injects some country into the mix.
Author: Adam Harrington – Whispering and Hollering