Blues Revue's 20th Anniversary

Living Blues 40th Anniv Issue

Providence Journal

Living Blues Issue #149

Boston Blues Society

All Right Now

A Decade of Blues

Fort Wayne Blues Society

Golden Isles

Natchel Blues Network

Blues Access

Real Blues

Rock & Blues News

DJ Quotes

Blues Revue

Blues Access

Rock & Blues News

Southwest Blues

Rambles Arts Magazine

 Roxy Theatre, Atlanta, GA

Blues Revue 2003

The Forrest McDonald Band
Turnaround Blues
World Talent Records

This is blues/rock as it should be. This band has not lost sight of the primary purpose of the music, which would, of course, be the blues aspect. His work can be heard on such iconic recordings as Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock & Roll”, recordings with Bobby Womack, Bonnie Bramlett, Jimmy Reed Jr. and more. His career has spanned some 50 years and has won him much deserved worldwide acclaim. A superb guitarist who plays what he knows, backed by a band that appears to anticipate his every move, makes for a recording that has to be a best seller. Traditional blues with a contemporary flair, Turnaround Blues has heart and soul that in our current musical climate is often lacking, or, at the very least, very weak. With McDonald on guitar, Andrew Black on vocals, John McKnight on drums, Jon Liebman on harp & vocals, Lee Gammon on bass ad Tony Carey on keyboards the band is as strong as bands get and then some. A good mix that brings primarily original tunes together with some of the greatest classics ever written, this one shows not only McDonald’s songwriting skins but the band’s ability to take a cover tune, break it down and make it their own. Bottom line, this is as good as it gets with your clothes on. This is McDonald’s 12th release on World Talent Records and, in this old man’s humble opinion, worthy of a Blues Music Award (Handy). You know you’re getting old when you have seen the fall of wax cylinders, 78s, LPs, 45s, 8-tracks, and very soon CDs and DVDs, as things move to strictly digital downloads. The one advantage is having been around long enough to pretty much hear it all. I consider myself well enough educated in the music to understand what makes a band good…and this band has what it takes and then some. This is blues, top-notch and worthy of a spot among the greats. I recommend it highly to one and all with no exceptions.
– Bill Wilson – Reflections in Blue

The Forrest McDonald Band
Turnaround Blues
World Talent Records
Blue Barry ~ smoky mountain blues society

Say you haven’t heard any good blues lately. Well, the wait is over! Go out right now and get a copy of The Forest McDonald Band! CD BABY, or check him out at www.forrestmcdonaldband.com, Forrest is also on facebook, and you can purchase this CD, which is by the way his 12th, at Amazon.com. That’s how you get it, now let’s listen to it! Top to bottom great stuff! There are 14 cuts with 9 originals, 4 classic blues, and a few bonus tracks. EVERY ONE of them is great! No weak spots. Screaming guitar, great vocals, soulful touching slow blues, swinging shuffles, classics very well redone in Forrest’s style, and lots of unexpected surprises. Forrest McDonald has been playing for over 50 years now, and looks like he has no interest in slowing down. You have heard him on Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll,” and Bobby Womack’s “Roads of Life.” Great songwriting, and on the money vocals make this CD a monster! When you play for over 50 years you can pretty much play anything. You can make that instrument say what you want it to. Forrest McDonald talks to us with his years of experience, and miles on the road. He shares his love of the music with us, and tells us how he feels about it. This is one of those CD’s that you are just lucky to come across. Get a copy. You’ll see! The real thing. It has graced my CD player in the house, and the car. Every time I hear it I like it more. Yea, it’s one of those. You’re welcome. Your friend, blue barry ~ smoky mountain blues society This is a great band! I love it! It's a 12-cylinder blues band!

World Talent Records release Turnaround blues
Reviewed By Midwest Record Entertainment

FORREST McDONALD BAND/Turnaround Blues: Here's the reason behind a load of records you loved that never sold and had you wondering why. This vet of the Muscle Shoals service has been picking guitar of every kind for the last 50 years and added the special sauce that made that record your record because the expertise kept your head in the mix. With nothing to prove and having his name out front, McDonald let's rip with some classic sounding blues rock that genre spliced within the genre for a really heady brew. This is the real deal throughout with no dust on it. Well done. Oh yeah, he did play on one or two records you know that are stone classics as well---and that's where the non musos know his sound and vibe from.

World Talent Records release Turnaround blues
Forrest McDonald Band review…June 11, 2014
Don and Sheryl’s blues blog

Turnaround Blues–Checking on My Baby-River of Tears-Cross My HEart–I’m a Fool–V-8 Ford–R & R Bye Bye Bye–Only Love–Woman Across the Ocean–Funny Thing Baby–Now I Know–Stay or Walk Away–Two for the Money, Parts 1 & 2 (Ints)

Yes sir, buddy. That indeed is Austin native Forrest McDonald’s guitar all over one of the most recognizable songs of the entire rock era, Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock And Roll.” It’s been used to sell cat food and Tom Cruise immortalized it in film in “Risky Business.” (You can read all about how it came to pass on Forrest’s website, and also over at http://www.songfacts.com–it is a very cool story!) Forrest has a bluesman’s soul, tho, and he has just released his twelfth set for World Talent Records, “Turnaround Blues,” fourteen cuts that show why Forrest McDonald has had a career that covers some fifty years—he’s a helluva guitar player who can bring a crowd to its feet with a driving boogie shuffle, or bring ‘em to their knees with a slow-burner, and even get a bit tripped-out on the spacey jam that he shares with Tony Carey that closes the set, “Two or The Money.” Along with Forrest on guitars and Tony on keys, there is Andrew Black on vocals, Lee Gammon on bass, John McKnight on drums, and Jon Liebman on vocals and harp. They really lay down a tight groove over the whole set, starting with the rockin’ funk of the title cut, a song that Forrest has been playing since 1972. Jon Liebman’s harp drives Junior Wells’ “Checking On My Baby,” and he and Tony do some serious wailing on “Cross My Heart.” As the set progresses, the music turns a deeper, darker shade of blue, and the fellows get into some ferocious jamming. “Woman Across The Ocean” is Forrest’s and Andrew’s “answer” to Freddie King’s “Woman Across The River,” and this one has a happier ending, and Andrew sho’ nuff kicks ass on the vocal, too. He shines on another slow blues, too, Forrest’s tribute to the classic sounds of the 40's and 50's, “Only Love.” We had two favorites, too. Jon Liebman burns up the reeds on his harp and the grooves on the record on the Chicago blues classic, Cotton’s kinda-morbidly-funny tale of “ridin’ down to your burial in my V-8 Ford!” Presented here as a slow blues, it’s a killer. And, Andrew Black turns in perhaps the set’s most outstanding vocal performance, reminiscent of Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes, on the soulful “I’m A Fool,” another good ‘un that Forrest has had in his back pocket since 1970. Forrest McDonald pulls no punches. Everything he plays is “Certified Blue” all the way through. With “Turnaround Blues,’ he and the band have cooked up another sure-fire winner!!

Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

The Sunday Night Blues Project - Wednesday, June 11, 2014
The Forrest McDonald Band -- "Turnaround Blues"

Here's something I didn't know--the great guitar work on Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock & Roll" and Bobby Womack's "Roads Of Life" was by this guy--Forrest McDonald. He was born in Texas, and has played guitar for almost 50 years. He was a member of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and for a time the guitarist for Kathi McDonald and Bonnie Bramlett, Jimmy Reed Jr and Bobby Womack. And now he has released "Turnaround Blues," his 12th cd on World Talent Records. This is a seriously good cd--good song writing, (most of both by Mr McDonald), good singing (mostly by Andrew Black and sometimes by Jon Liebman), and loads of good playing by everybody. The rhythm section is Lee Gammon on bass, John McKnight on drums, and Tony Carey on keyboards. Special guests include Darrell Cobb, (vocals and guitar on "Stay Or Walk Away") Rich Ianucci (keyboards on "Checking On My Baby" and "R&R By Bye Bye") and John Schwenke (bass on "River Of Tears"). There is a lot of really good blues music on this disc. It's a Forrest McDonald release, and the guitar work throughout is stellar, but these guys play together as a band. There is room here for great turns on vocals, harp, and keyboard. I especially enjoyed their cover of Junior Wells' "Checking On My Baby," where Jon Liebman just channels Junior's feel on harp, and "River Of Tears," which is just smoking from start to finish, and "Funny Thing Baby," which Forrest dedicates to Toy Caldwell, who was the great guitar player for the Marshall Tucker Band. The cover of Sonny Boy Williamson II's "V-8 Ford" is terrific--here it is transformed from a country blues lament into a sizzling electric blues workout with solid solos by harp, guitar and keyboard.

Good stuff. Check it out. You can buy this cd at: http://www.forrestmcdonald.com

Blues Revue
20th Anniversary
Reviewed By Michael Kinsman

Guitarist Forrest McDonald was long ago "certified blue" before he ever came up with that name for his latest CD.   McDonald is a highly talented blues guitar player and songwriter who has flirted with bright light for four decades, but who prefers to live quietly in Richmond, VA.

McDonald has always had a very clean approach to his guitar picking, choosing a bouncy phrasing that you might find Dickey Betts right at home with.  This CD does nothing to hamper with his reputation as one of the best blues guitarists around that you're likely not to identify. 

Everyone has heard his work, though. It is his guitar solo on Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock And Roll" recorded in Muscle Shoals that became part of the collective American lore when it was used in the 1983 film Risky Business.

Yet despite jamming with the like of Eddie Van Halen, Steve Perry, Bonnie Bramlett, and Johnny Winter and recording with Jimmy Reed and Bobby Womack, few people know McDonald.

McDonald wrote nine of the 13 songs on this CD, which features his wife, Kaylon, on vocals on 10 cuts.  From the get-go, McDonald lets his guitar lead the way on "Keeping the Blues Alive," a fast-paced boogie about traveling the countryside spreading blues wherever he goes.

His rendition of Johnny Winters "You Keep Telling Me" is full of blustery guitar licks that never cross the line from sincere to show-off.   McDonald demonstrates that a refined guitar solo can be just as powerful as one that relies on dozens of dazzling notes.

Though McDonald's guitar work is essential to many of these songs, his solos are always tasteful and disciplined, ending as soon as his guitar makes its statement. It's refreshing to hear a songwriter-guitarist-producer have the restraint to make sure he never overplays on a recording.

Kaylon McDonald's vocals are workman-like, but when she sings Forrest McDonald lines such as "I walked in on my baby as he was walking out on me," she sounds as though that experience is coming straight from her life.

Sterling accompanists such as singer/harp player Jon Liebman and former Albert Collins Band saxophonist Chuck Williams make important contributions to this CD.

But Forrest McDonald's music doesn't need anyone's stamp of approval. It's "Certified Blue" through and through.

- Michael Kinsman


Living Blues 40th Anniversary Issue

Certified Blue
Reviewed By Mark Uricheck

Forrest McDonald has been playing music for over four decades, jamming with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page back in 1969, sharing the bill with Van Halen on the Sunset Strip during that band's salad days, and playing the guitar solo on Bob Seger's classic Old Time Rock 'n' Roll, recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. Out of this varied musical past life McDonald forges his new disc, Certified Blue - a warm, R&B soaked slice of Texas Blues with a classic Chicago club vibe.

McDonald's zigzagging guitar leads keep his music fresh.  Forrest's wife Kaylon McDonald, is sultry and sassy as a lead vocalist, providing an anchor for Forrest's refined, jazz-inflected rhythm.   Kaylon, Forrest, and the band swing with abandon through the Louis Jordan-inspired Till The Morning Light, spread a low down funk on Mess Around With Love, and dig their claws into a slow burner with a cover of Johnny Winter's You Keep Telling Me.

Forrest takes a stab at vocal on Eddy "Cleanhead" Vinson's Double Back, while band member ex-Albert Collins sax player Chuck Williams pop up in the rollicking Texas vamp Danced Our Last Dance.   Forrest and the band are laid back throughout, yet they convey enthusuasm for their band of roadhouse meets backstreet Chicago blues.

Certified Blue proves McDonald deserves wider recognition.

- Mark Uricheck

 

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Providence Journal

Forrest McDonald still feeling, playing the blues


The Providence Journal

 

January 15, 2009


Music is a family affair for Forrest McDonald. His wife, Kaylon, sings in his band, and brother Steve McDonald will also sit in Saturday at an 8 p.m. gig at Chan’s in Woonsocket.

It’s been 45 years since Forrest McDonald played his first gig, at the Harrisville Civic Center with The Seagram’s 7. The drummer couldn’t play the solo of “Wipe Out,” so the keyboard player jumped behind the drums and did it. The rhythm guitar player didn’t know all the chords to “Walk, Don’t Run,” so he unplugged his amplifier for that one. It was New Year’s Eve 1964, and they each got $40.

Things have gone uphill for McDonald from there. The Rhode Island native started his career at the beginnings of the ‘60s rock explosion, and he’s got the scars and the stories to prove it.

“Of the guys I started with, some are millionaires, some are broke, some are dead broke,” the guitarist says. “Some are dead and broke.”

He played with The Boston Rock Symphony, played Backstage with Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck at Newport, and joined the Rhode Island-based Wadsworth mansion, who had a hit in 1971 with “Sweet Mary,” toured the nation and were washed up – literally. On tour with Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna River flooded, destroying all their equipment. Some of the band reunited in California; some didn’t make the trek.

McDonald went West and started the band Slingshot, as well as playing sessions with people such as Bonnie Bramlett and Kathy McDonald, who sang with Big Brother and the Holding Company after Janis Joplin left. He also played and recorded with a pre-Journey Steve Perry and played onstage with a pre-famous Van Halen. & lt;p> But McDonald’s biggest claim to fame happened in the mid-‘70s on a trip to visit his father in Alabama. He wanted to visit the legendary studio Muscle Shoals Sound, and when he got there the studio players and producer Jimmy Johnson were in the middle of a demo session. Johnson asked McDonald to strap on his guitar and throw on a guitar solo and they’d see whether he was any good.

He was, and they told him they’d let him know whether anyone picked up the song and recorded it. Months later, he got a phone call telling him that Bob Seger was not only going to do the song, but that he had bought the recording, lock, stock, and barrel, and would simply put his own vocal on top of it.

Eleventy-kabillion records later, “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll” and Forrest McDonald’s guitar solo are part of the ‘70s-rock DNA But that didn’t make a lot of difference to McDonald’s life at the time. He got the Stranger in Town record and excitedly looked at the back, where all it said was “Thanks to the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section!” “I thought I was going to get all the session work from it, and [when I saw it] I thought, ‘Aw MAN!,’ “ he remembers with a laugh.

It took McDonald 25 years, with the release of Seger’s greatest-hits package, to get properly credited for it. Now he has a platinum record on the wa ll at his home in Virginia commemorating the success of the song (as well as gold records for a Bobby Womack record and backing vocals on the I Am Sam soundtrack).

After California, McDonald spent 13 years in the Atlanta area before moving to Virginia, and all the way through he’s been blues and R&B guitar, making 10 albums on his own World Talent Records and “winning over new fans one show at a time.”

Last Labor Day weekend, he came back to Rhode Island for his 40th high school reunion, and he’ll be making his first Rhode Island appearance in years this weekend.

These are challenging but rewarding times to be a blues musician, McDonald says. On the one hand, the audience for live music, especially blues, is drying up: “a lot of people don’t go out and support live music like they used to.”

As a result, the kind of “right place, right time” breaks that McDonald got are fewer and farther between for today’s musicians.

“Those people aren’t out playing in clubs. …It’s a different kind of music. But doing what I do has allowed me to maintain the link to the original blues and rhythm and blues that started it all.”

On the other, he says, the kind of technology, particularly the Internet, that is changing music is also allowing people like him to fly under the radar of=2 0the record labels and make fans all over the world.

In short, McDonald says, “Not much changes. Some gigs are better than others.”

That kind of constancy would drive some people crazy, but for McDonald it’s the other way around.

“It’s probably the one constant that I’ve got. You have all these ups and downs in your life. You have kids and they grow up and hate you … it’s a different world from when I grew up in the ‘50s.”

These days, music is already a family affair for McDonald, whose wife, Kaylon, sings in the band. (“I finally have a relationship that I think can go the distance,” McDonald says of his wife, “because we’re in the same band together and we have the same goals. It’s not like ‘Oh, you’r going out there to practice again?’ “) Brother Steve McDonald has been playing in Rhode Island for 35 years, but never on a gig with Forrest. And the band also includes Tommy Bonnariggo, formerly of Boston’s old Daddy Warbucks Band, on drums.

“It should be a good time,” McDonald says. “

As it turned out it was a sold out show so look for them to be back this Summer.

Forrest McDonald performs at Chan’s, 267 Main St., Woonsocket, Saturday evening at 8:00 pm. Tickets are $12; call (401) 765-1900.

Boston Blues Society

Forrest & Kaylon McDonald  -  Nothing Wrong With Dreaming

Forrest & Kaylon McDonald

2007 World Talent Publishing

By Tee Charles
July 2008

Mellow blues. Summer blues. Country blues.

These monikers all characterize the feel of this album. Forrest and Kaylon McDonald wrote all but two of these laid back tunes. Bring the CD player or MP3 player out on the back porch - or to the barbecue or beach - add your favorite beverage and go with the flow. The feel may remind you of Charles Brown’s mellow, cocktail lounge blues.

Led by Kaylon McDonald on vocals and her husband Forrest on six-string guitar, bass, and keyboards, the group calls on the considerable talents of John McNight on drums, Jeff Jenkins and Ken Rhyne on harmonica, and Brian Berkoff and Rich Ianucci, both on piano and organ. Mike Lucci, MC, and Marc Caplan help out reliably on bass, and Tabetha Durham adds some unison and harmony vocals.

The bouncy “Gas Pump Blues” gets this album started with a timely topic now that gas is four bucks a gallon. “I can’t drive my car/ Can’t make it to the show” is a feeling shared by many starving musicians and non-musicians alike. Kaylon does a nice job with the vocals and harmonizing with herself. This is fresh, since harmonies don’t exist on most blues albums.

“You’re My Dream” is a love song in blues clothing. It works. Like Roy Orbison, Kaylon and Forrest write about dreams on this one, and two others: the title track, “Nothing Wrong With Dreaming,” (“Sometimes they come true,”), and also later on “Living My Dream.”

Forrest is cut loose and shows his familiarity with the fretboard on “I Feel So Bad,” a slow blues number. He plays a tasty guitar solo on this one, my favorite track on the disc. The blues feeling is deepest, and the sadness comes through the guitar and vocals.

On “I’ll Be There for You,” Brian Berkoff plays some tasty piano on this country blues track. I hear a little Floyd Cramer influence here. Tabetha Durham increases the variety and adds some value on “I’m Busy Now,” (“‘Cause I got a new love.”)

“Good Hearted Woman” also includes a tip-of-the-hat to the good-hearted man in her life —“He comes home and treats her right.” Again, nice guitar work by Forrest.

“I’m Riding On Down” is a traditional song that fits in nicely with the mellowness on the album. Durham adds some nice vocal harmonies, and Forrest gives us a few layers of guitar.

“I’m Ready” is another original song. This one includes a come-on to her lover.

“You Still Got It Baby” is a bouncy number that will get your butt shakin’ and toe tappin’. This one goes on the iPOD. Like most guys, I probably don’t tell my woman often enough that she’s still the one. This will remind me.

The closer, “The World is Waiting (for things to change)” is also appropriate for the current mood in the country and the world.

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Fort Wayne Blues Society

Spirit of the Blues
Reviewed By Connie Myers
Fort Wayne Blues Society

This is Forrest McDonald's fourth CD he has released. Now I know you're saying, "Who is Forrest McDonald?" That's very much like asking who Lonnie Mack is. Forrest McDonald played backup for some pretty famous people like Steve Perry of Journey, Tony Carey from Planet P and Rainbow, Bobby Womack and you can hear him playing guitar on Bob Seger's Old Time Rock and Roll.

Raymond Victor plays keyboard and is the lead vocalist. He has his own bragging list: John Lee Hooker, Mike Bloomfield, Bobby Blue Bland, Elvin Bishop, and Charlie Musselwhite.

The rest of his band consists of Diane Dutra on bass guitar.oh yea lady bass player, Chuck "CAP" Capdeville, known as Mr. Metronome, and David Parnell, who has a little bragging to do after playing with David T. Walker, David McCracken, and The Coasters.

I have listened to this CD many times. The liquid, grinding, If You Don't Really Love Me made me envision dirty dancers undulating on a dark, smoky dance floor somewhere in bluestown USA. I had to get up and do the Stroll. WHAT!!! The Stroll?? Holy Cow!! Now everyone knows how old I am! This album covers it all. Good jump blues to ice smooth dirty blues. I hate the idea that I will be raffling this CD at the block party September 18. I may have to stalk whoever wins it. I loaned it to my brother who is a much harsher critic than I am and he gave it a grin and a nod, his sign of approval. Skip Calvin said, "It's better than most out today."

Forrest McDonald and the 3D Blues Band is currently receiving airplay on 175 radio programs in the USA. His Hard To Lose video is available nationwide. Other albums by Forrest McDonald and the 3D Blues Band are: I Need You, On Fire, Under the Gun. If you are looking for blues that won't wear you out with flash and dash and confusing guitar workings, if you are looking for good, straight up blues that will cool you out, I recommend this CD.

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Golden Isles Shag Club

Spirit of the Blues
Reviewed By Michael Roberts
Golden Isles Shag Club

I received this album from a pop jock friend of mine who knows good music when he hears it. His words to me were "I think this is something that you will like". Like! I think that Forrest is a true undiscovered STAR. Containing thirteen cuts Forrest displays his vocal and guitar skills in the areas of Shuffle Blues, Jump Blues and the traditional Blues Ballad. Yes, sir there really is something here for Swing EC / WC & Shag Jocks as well as dancers of either style.

Tracks 5, 9,10, & 12 are great up tempo shuffles in the 120 to 124 BPM range that true blues lovers who shag or EC Swing will be moving to for some time to come. For you WC Swing folks let me say that cut one is a wonderful example of what makes you move. An example of a good solid ballad would be the Track entitled "Take me to the Country". One listen to this will do just that, all you need is a jug of Hard Apple Cider or maybe a mason jar of liquid fire and you'll be back to those roots you sometimes forget in the midst of today's hustle and bustle.

Where does this gem rank on the "Ole, Give It To Mikey, He'll Play it Scale?" This one deserves nothing less that a stone cold A! I hate to give such a high rating on my first exposure to a group but when it's deserved….what else can you do.

Availability on this one may be a little difficult. At this time I know of only ONE specialty shop that has any in stock. That is "Judy's House of Oldies" in North Myrtle Beach, SC. Call (843-249-8649). She'll ship it to you. If she happens to be out you call also contact the folks at "World Talent Records" (770-931-8116) I'm sure they will be happy to sell you a copy.

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Natchel Blues Network
 

Spirit of the Blues
Reviewed By John Hathaway
Natchel Blues Network

This CD grabs you from the very first chord of "That's My Baby," and doesn't let your attention waver until the last note of "Rock This House" is dripping from your speakers!

Their fourth release together, McDonald teams up with his long time partner Raymond Victor, along with "Cap" Capdeville on Drums, Diane Dutra on Bass, and Dave Parnell on Saxophone, to take the listener on an hour plus long journey through some great traditional feeling down and dirty blues.

Victor's voice has that guttural, kind of nasty feeling-one that tells you "blues are in the house," and is complemented by his awesome work on piano. McDonald's stinging guitar solos reach out of the speakers and grab you by the ears, forcing you to appreciate the beauty of his skills. Parnell's horn work (and the mixing) is so good it feels like a whole section up there.

All told, this group melds their talents wonderfully to bring us a great new blues CD! Favorite cuts on this thirteen track compilation are: "People I'm Hurting," "Cry No More," "Ride My Buggy," "Hard To Lose," and "If You Don't Really Love Me," but with each listen I add another cut!

 

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Detroit Blues Society
 

World Talent Records: 42253-2
Reviewed By Wolfgang Spider
Detroit Blues Society

The bluesy guitar lines of Forrest McDonald compliment the lusty vocals and keyboard work of Raymond Victor to provide a great party set. This album has that "let's have fun" feel to every track.

They open with "That's My Baby" featuring Victor's keyboard and vocals in an upbeat song which sets the stage for all to follow. A medium speed blues called "Anchor to a Drowning Man" follows with great blues guitar and a solid beat. So as not to repeat myself too many times let's just say that all the tracks have exceptional performances on guitar, vocals, and keyboards.

Working behind McDonald and Victor are Chuck "Cap" Cap Deville on drums, Diane Dutra on 5 string bass and Dave Parnell on tenor saxophone. Victor has backed John Lee Hooker, Bobby Blue Bland, Mike Bloomfield and Charlie Musselwhite. McDonald has worked with Bob Seger, Bobby Womack and many others. These are seasoned musicians and it shows in their recordings.

The CD includes slow blues on "Texas", "People I'm Hurting", "If You Don't Really Love Me", and "Take me to the Country". These are balanced with medium and up-tempo tracks such as "Love Me In The Morning", "Cry No More", "Ride My Buggy", Lazy Old Woman" and "Whiskey". It is hard to pick my favorite song. I liked them all. The guitar work on "Hard to Lose" and the piano work on "Whiskey" make these strong candidates. How would you expect a blues party set to conclude? With a bluesy rocker of course and "Rock This House" fills that bill. I love this CD. It rocks the blues and makes me feel good.

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Blues Access
 

Spirit of the Blues
Reviewed By Blues Access

Guitar-based blues at its best here on tunes like "Anchor to a Drowning Man" and "Texas." McDonald is a really fine guitarist in the T-Bone Walker mold, and for all you gear-heads, the liner notes detail the guitar, amp and settings for every tune.

 

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Real Blues
 

Spirit of the Blues
Reviewed By Andy Grigg
Real Blues

Here is a CD that has all the tasteful deejays whoopin' and hoolerin' and it only takes track 1, "That's My Baby," to hear why. This is the 'cat's ass' as they say. It is a pure Southern, good time, easy rockin' blues and is as pleasurable experience as it gets.

The Blues fans down in Georgia have been spoiled by Forrest and company for quite some time, and man oh man, when I listen to these guys, I'm wishing I could be at a table close to the stage and dance floor where they would be rockin'. This band is what a great bar room blues band should sound like. Dance floor friendly and guaranteed to make you forget your troubles in a very short period of time.

A super talented and cohesive unit like this really should be much wider known. I'm not sure if they tour outside of Georgia, but they can easily play rings around a lot of bands who wear 'star' status. McDonald is a very tasty guitarist of the 'less is more' school and he makes every note count. Lead vocalist/keyboardist Raymond Victor roars up a storm and is totally natural. Exceptional sax work from veteran Dave Parnell makes every track extra sweet of an experience and Diane Dutra lays down the perfect Fender bass bottom - some of the best blues bassists are women.

This CD will be on your player for an extended period of time if you like to do the 'livingroom boogie' (I sure do). 5 bottles for a great disc from a hot band. Check them out! 

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Rock & Blues News
 

Spirit of the Blues
Reviewed By Rock & Blues News

From piano-dominated, bouncy swing numbers ("That's My Baby") to guitar/sax-centered blues ("Anchor to a Drowning Man"), Forrest McDonald's quintet sizzles. Lead vocals by Raymond Victor are remarkable, as is his keyboard work throughout this session. "Texas," the third cut on this 13 song set, combines Robert Cray-type lyrics with powerful guitar licks reminiscent of Albert Collins. Wow! The tenor sax honking and musings of Dave Parnell are distinctive; the five-string bass work of Diane Dutra is solid; and the percussion magic of Chuck "Mr. Metronome" Capdeville is electric.

The performing maturity and clarity of this group, coupled with the lyrical rhythmic genius of Texas-born McDonald, make this fine production a can't miss recording. ~ Cooper

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Blues Revue
 

Finger Lickin' Blues
Reviewed By Blues Revue December 2001

Journeyman guitarist Forrest McDonald and veteran vocalist and pianist Raymond Victor blend elements of vintage Chicago and Texas blues with elements of soul, R&B and funk. Victor is a blues singer with depth. Over the years this duo has performed with such luminaries as John Lee Hooker, Luther Tucker, Charlie Musselwhite, Bobby Womack, and Bobby "Blue" Bland. The disc’s version of “Ode to Billy Joe” is by itself worth the price of admission: this one is a crowning achievement. Finger Lickin’ Blues covers a lot of ground and Forrest McDonald mixes his ingredients well. Bob Margolin’s haunting slide guitar, spooking along behind the verse, should send chills up the spine of any blues aficionado. McDonald’s sparse, understated rhythm guitar here is mesmerizing. There could be no better proof that less is more.

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Blues Access,  December 2001
 

Finger Lickin' Blues
Reviewed By Blues Access

This Atlanta-based journeyman has hot licks to spare and they come down fast and furious. McDonald’s flat out Southern style of wailing is ably supported by a tight band featuring Raymond Victor’s excellent vocals and keyboard work. Lovers of white hot guitar will not be disappointed.

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Southwest Blues
 

Whats it gonna take?

Reviewed By Southwest Blues, November 2000

Extraordinary musicianship! McDonald’s glowing guitar teamed with Victor’s whiskey-drenched gutter voice, exceptional piano work and strong songwriting is a winning combination. Where have these guys been hiding?

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Rock & Blues News
 

Whats it gonna take?
Reviewed By Rock & Blues News

Forrest McDonald’s quintet sizzles with great traditional feeling and down and dirty blues. Raymond Victor’s voice has that guttural kind of nasty feeling that tells you the “blues are in the house” and is complemented by his awesome work on pianos. Dave Parnell’s horn work sounds so good it feels like a whole section. The five string bass work of Diane Dutra is very solid; and the percussive magic of Chuck Cap Deville is electric. The performing maturity and clarity of this group, coupled with the lyrical - rhythmic genius of Texas-born McDonald, make them a band not to be missed. ~ Cooper

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The Lilburn Courier
 

Forrest McDonald at the Roxy Theatre, Atlanta, GA"

Reviewed By By Kevin J. Moran, September 21, 2002

Blues guitarist Forrest McDonald still doing things “his way”

By Kevin J. Moran

"Total fun!" That's what Lilburnite Forrest McDonald says when I ask him to describe his blues band’s sizzling performance at the Roxy in Buckhead on Saturday night, Sept. 21, 2002, as the opening act for blues legend Bo Diddley. Forrest and I are standing together in the lobby of the Roxy just minutes after he walked off stage and he's there to autograph copies of his CD's and mingle with his ever-increasing fan base. He says the Roxy is a "fabulous" place to play and he can't say enough good things about his fans. As I soon find out, his fans can't say enough good things about him either. One by one, fans of all ages, from budding teenage guitarists to middle aged couples, come up to Forrest and tell him how much they have enjoyed his music over the years and how much they enjoyed his live set tonight. Many fans just want a chance to meet this local guitar hero who's also a nationwide blues celebrity, a hometown boy who's made good in the rough and tumble world of professional music. One teenage kid actually brought his own guitar to the show and asks Forrest to sign it. Forrest patiently signs every autograph and takes the time to chat with each fan - not about himself but about them, asking their name, where they're from, what they do for a living. He thanks every one of them for coming to the show and for their loyalty over his 38-year career. In a world of rock star prima donnas, Forrest is a refreshing presence; it's almost impossible not to like this guy!

Despite his disarming off-stage presence, Forrest's musical prowess is anything but easygoing. He plays blues guitar with an intensity and a passion that fills both knowledgeable and novice blues fans with excitement and leaves even experienced guitarists in awe of his playing ability. Listen to any of his CD's or attend one of his live shows and you'll hear his blistering guitar work overlaying traditional blues rhythms with a range of tempos, from slow heart-wrenching Texas blues reminiscent of blues originals like T-Bone Walker, to the more modern hard driving rock-blues mix of Jonny Lang and the late Stevie Ray Vaughan. During their 50-minute set at the Roxy, Forrest and his band played a range of blues selections from several of his recordings. The members of his band (the line-up at the Roxy included Andrew Black (another blues guitar virtuoso) on guitar and lead vocals, bassist Steve Mays and drummer Duke "Blues" Kelly) are all seasoned blues veterans and have been playing with Forrest for years and their long-term relationship has resulted in a nearly flawless kind of musical teamwork. Critics have hailed Forrest as one of the greatest blues guitarists of the day and his band has been voted "Best Southern Blues Band" by Real Blues Magazine in 1999, 2000 and 2001. In 2001, Forrest himself was voted "Best Southern Blues Guitarist" by the magazine as well.

Originally from Austin, Texas, Forrest grew up in a musical family. His grandparents both played music; his grandmother was among the first women to graduate from a music college and played and studied music her entire life until she died at age 101. His mother was a singer and also played acoustic guitar. His dad had an extensive record collection and that was how Forrest first discovered the blues, listening to T-Bone Walker albums as well as recordings by Muddy Waters and Sonny Boy Williamson. Then, at age 9, Forrest saw bluesman Josh White perform in concert. From that moment on, he was hooked on the blues. When he was just 14, he hitchhiked his way to New York City and spent time in Greenwich Village where he saw the great blues legends Muddy Waters and Mose Allison in concert. Shortly after that, Forrest took up the guitar. He took six months of guitar lessons and then taught himself blues guitar the rest of the way. Thirty-eight years ago, on New Year's Eve 1965, Forrest started his first band; he's been having "total fun" ever since.

But while music and the blues may have been a passionate pastime in the McDonald family, it was still a unique career choice for Forrest. His father is a renowned history professor at the University of Alabama and a leading American constitutional scholar who devised a new way of looking at the history of the U.S. Constitution by going back and reading the original documents that made up the framework for what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the document that still governs America after more than 200 years. When I ask Forrest why his career path to blues music differed so much from his father's career in academia, Forrest credits his father's attitude of open thinking. "My dad always told me to do what I wanted to do. He just said 'whatever you do, be the best'. And I just wanted to do things my way."

That attitude of doing things "his way" appears to have served Forrest well, especially in the last several years. He started his own record label, World Talent Records (based in Lilburn), to sell his music, the determined underdog going against the grain of the big record labels. Now 52, he spends a considerable amount of time as a tireless promoter of the blues and helping support the careers of fellow blues musicians. He's a very active member of several blues music organizations including the Atlanta Blues Society. Each year, his band plays a dozen or so major blues festivals at various venues across the country. He spends his free time in Lilburn with his wife, Debbie, and their 10-year-old son.

Despite his guitar wizardry and his business savvy, Forrest remains modest. When I ask him how a "master blues guitarist" ended up in Lilburn as opposed to a more traditional blues haven like Memphis or Chicago, he avoids my geography question altogether. Instead, he says. "Master blues guitarist in Lilburn? Well, when I run into him, I'll let you know!"

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Blues Revue Magazine
 

Forrest McDonald ~ Live

Reviewed By Michael Cote,   Feb/Mar 2003

For an album recorded on the fly, Live packs a mean punch. Though it captures a performance before a festival crowd, what it delivers is the sound you’d like to hear if you wandered into an out-of-town bar, and sat down to hear a blues band you’d never before encountered. Atlanta-based guitarist (and Austin, Texas, native) Forrest McDonald is the top billed performer, but this is clearly the work of an ensemble, featuring lead singer and piano player Raymond Victor - McDonald’s musical partner for three decades now - as well as second guitarist and singer Andrew Black, and the 3D Blues Band rhythm section of Jonathan Schwenke on bass and John McKnight on drums. McDonald’s guitar grabs much of the spotlight, but it’s Victor’s growl that initially commands attention: His rough-hewn voice, full of character, lends a distinctive touch to a batch of songs that adhere to familiar blues themes. It kicks off with “Anchor to a Drowning Man,” which includes a bit of feedback you might expect from an album mixed directly from the house sound system. But the warts and all approach offers a portrait of a road band that knows how to play to the crowd. Most of the songs come from the school of good-humored hard-lick blues; Victor introduces “Work Work” as a song about his second marriage and “Boogie Me ‘tilI drop” as a song about his third marriage. In addition to his playful singing, which can drop into Howlin’ Wolf territory, he’s got a boogie-woogie blues piano style honed from years of playing. McDonald’s clean, smoking leads offer plenty of flash, but he never gets overly indulgent. McKnight gets to play front man when he handles lead vocals on a cover of Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talking.” Let’s have some full disclosure: I had never heard these guys before. Now, I’m hoping they get to my town sometime soon.

MICHAEL COTE

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All Right Now

'COLORBLIND' IS ABSOULUTELY "BRILLIANT"
The most refreshing album I have heard this year

Forrest McDonald With Andrew Black & Raymond Victor

"Pure Magic"

Lucy Piller

About every decade, an artist comes on the horizon that changes the flow for the positive and “Forrest McDonald” is that vessel. Forrest McDonald indisputably sets the course for the next generation of blues-rock musicians. He is powerful, vibrant, unyielding and a testimonial all by himself. Take a ride in the fast lane with his all-star lineup and enjoy 10 red-hot originals and two classic covers on this monumental new release.

Forrest McDonald has been renowned as one of the world’s finest guitarists since the early seventies when he first gained prominence with the Wadsworth Mansion and later as a session guitarist in the Muscle Shoals, Alabama recording scene. He can be heard soloing on Bob Segers platinum hit “Old Time Rock & Roll” and may other great recordings. After 7 albums on the WTR label, he has astonished listeners with his remarkable, emotionally powerful playing and writing ability. Now he has launched an adventurous new project with producer Tony Carey culminating in the release of Colorblind his eighth CD.

Veteran Producer Tony Carey is well know for his work with many artists such as Rainbow - "Rainbow Rising ", "On Stage" and "Live in Germany", Pat Travers - "Puttin' it straight", Peter Maffay - "Sonne in der Nacht", "Tabaluga und das leuchtende Schweigen", "Lange Schatten" (1988), John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers - "Chicago Line", Joe Cocker - "Now that you're gone", Josep Carreras & Cris Juanico - "Tabaluga Viatja Buscant El Seny" and The Forrest McDonald Band - "Colorblind". Tony will be producing the new John Mayall CD in January 2005.

Of their new album, Colorblind, singer Andrew Black says, “This album is a journey. We have created a powerful statement of where the band is right now, the songs are full of energy, tension, contrast and beauty.”

Members of the band are Forrest McDonald on vocals, and lead guitar; Andrew Black on vocals, and guitar; Raymond Victor on vocals, and keyboard; Tony Carey on Bass and keyboard; John McKnight on vocals, and drums.

Forrest McDonald’s U.S. tour dates will began with a kick off performance in Atlanta, GA the first weekend in October and concluded in Boston, MA in December 2004.

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DJ Quotes Reviews

 

What the Blue J's are saying about Forrest:

When I hear Forrest's music, I get goose bumps on my arms. That passes my test.
Black Jack Ketchum, Good Morning Blues, WRFG ~ Atlanta, GA

Look for Spirit of The Blues on our playlists.
Cornbread, The Chicago Blues X-plosion, WJKL ~ Chicago, IL

We are playing all 13 tracks.
WQOX ~ Memphis, TN

We're playing this one! Send us another copy.
WPEB ~ Philadelphia, PA

I'm spinning Take Me To The Country on Guitar 

Mac's Blues Express. KCBL ~ Sacramento, CA

Spirit Of The Blues is doing so well, it's crossed over into other formats. You're getting lots of airplay. 

Fred Hawley, Rollin' With The Blues, KMXT ~ Kodiak, AK

We love Forrest's music here in Duluth. He's getting tons of airplay.
John Ziegler, KUMD ~ Duluth, MN

We're playing all tracks. This is a great CD!
Bob Carrol, KSRN ~ Reno, NV

This CD is much appreciated, thanks! ...... Blues After Hours.
Andy Musick, KANZ ~ Garden City, KS

We love this CD! It's in heavy rotation. Where have these guys been hiding?
WISU ~ Terre Haute, IN

We are playing Forrest on Blue Sunday. We really like this CD and will be playing a lot of the tracks.
Dave Marino, WZGC ~ Atlanta, GA

I like this CD quite a lot! Best of luck with this new release.
Stan Ruffo, Blues On Tap ~ World Wide on Broadcast.com

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