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 McDonald appeared on Virginia This Morning on Wed., Dec. 14. WTVR-CBS 6 in Richmond. Click here to see Forrest’s Interview.


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”

If it’s not playing on your favorite station send us an email and let us know. If it is on your favorite station please give it a thumbs up for us! April 2010 “Certified Blue” hits number 4 on the blues power rankings.

Forrest McDonald “Certified Blue” World Talent Records


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 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 @

Living Blues Issue #149

Forrest McDonald 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 bluebar.jpg – 1226 Bytes

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.

Black Jack & AJ Good Morning Blues WRFG/Atlanta — 89.3 FM bluebar.jpg – 1226 Bytes

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 — “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 ( 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

Blues Greece veteran singer, songwriter, guitarist Forrest McDonald – earthshaking, soul-stirring music distilled in the blues. Q&A with Blues in a Bucket showcases Forrest McDonald’s guitar mastery in full bloom, aided and abetted by a stellar cast of backing musicians, featuring the dynamic lead vocals of Andrew Black and special guest vocalist Becky Wright.  

The Forrest McDonald Band: “Blues In A Bucket” (2020) CD Review

Forrest McDonald has been performing for more than fifty years, delivering some delicious blues and blues-related music. His new album, Blues In A Bucket, features all original material, written or co-written by McDonald. This band can groove and rock, then drop you deep into the blues and pull you out again. It features Andrew Black on lead vocals, and includes a horn section. Blues In A Bucket follows the band’s 2017 release Stand My Ground.

The album opens with “Boogie Me Till I Drop,” which – as you might guess from its title – is a fun number. This tune has a wonderful New Orleans vibe and rhythm, the horns urging us to join together on the dance floor. Yeah, the band is throwing a party, and it seems we are all invited.   

The moment the title track “Blues In A Bucket” begins, its bright vibe works to raise my spirits. Ah, it’s wonderful how the blues can do that. And let’s give credit here to the bass line, because, yeah, it’s working well. “Put my blues in a bucket/Gonna throw it in the sea/I’ll sit and watch the tide roll away from me.” I think we all want to chuck our blues at this point. How great it would be to watch them pulled away by the tide. And for me, really, that means tossing Donald Trump into the ocean, and watching the waves pull him out to sea, never to return. Goodbye, blues. This track becomes a good jam there in the middle. “Windy City Blues” immediately establishes a wonderful groove that is familiar and soulful. This track features some absolutely delightful touches on keys, and a really good vocal performance. “I got them Windy City blues/I’ve got to face the facts/I gave my love to a woman/And she never gave it back.” I also love those horns, the way they are at first so gentle, like caresses offered in the night, and then later more lively, particularly when joining with the guitar in the second half of the song. That lead on guitar is excellent, each note so clear, so precise, so effective. This is one of my favorite tracks

This is an excellent CD start to finish. Michael Dogherty’s Blues Blog

The BluesPowR Blog We liked the Forrest McDonald Band‘s earlier album Turnaround Blues so much that we wondered if we’d ever hear another one quite that good from them. Now a few years later comes along McDonald — who, you may recall, spent part of his career playing guitar for the likes of Bobby Womack, Bonnie Bramlett, and the famous Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, including having contributed that instantly recognizable guitar work on Bob Seger’s hit “Old Time Rock and Roll” — and his band as strong as (if not perhaps stronger than) ever with their latest recording Blues in a Bucket (World Talent Records). Though the album and its track titles have “blues” written all over them, these guys prove quite capable of laying down some real rockers when they want, with several of the songs displaying shades of Lenny Kravitz or Living Colour’s Vernon Reid in addition to bluesmen like Bernard Allison and others mentioned above. Put all together, these elements make for an album that’s guaranteed to fill many blues fans’ buckets!

RootsTime Belgium CD Review Translation

Songwriter/guitarist Forrest McDonald (born 1950 in Austin, TX) has been a musician for over five decades. Forrest was seven years old when he first saw bluesman Josh White perform. He did his first paid performance with the Seagram’s 7 on New Year’s Eve 1964, after meeting Muddy Waters at Cafe Midnight in Harlem, NYC earlier that year. That same year his father gave him a copy of ‘Two Bones and a Pick’ [1959] by T-Bone Walker. From then on he became addicted to the blues for good. “His excellent new Blues & Rock album ‘Blues in a Bucket’ crowns more than 50 years of Forrest McDonald’s career…. “(ESC for

Eric Schuurmans

Professor Johnny P’s Juke Joint
Thursday, January 2, 2020
The Forrest McDonald Band Featuring Andrew Black ~~ Blues In A Bucket

Forrest McDonald has been a professional musician for something like six decades. As a guitarist, he has crossed genres. From rock to straight up blues, he’s played it all with a strong and steady hand. When you get a chance to catch him live with The Forrest McDonald Band, you know you are in for a good time. The music is good, the personalities of the band blend beautifully, and it’s almost impossible not to come away in a great mood. Blues In A Bucket is an interesting mix of fun time party music, funky sides, and heart-wrenching soul searches. It’s a mature effort from Forrest McDonald and Andrew Black that displays great depth. While still displaying McDonald’s penchant for tight hooks, his lyrics are among the best of his career. Blues In A Bucket will make a great addition to any blues lover’s collection. Get your order in early and check McDonald’s website  for touring information. Catch ‘em where you can, live music is always better.

Paris Move CD Review 

A seemingly harmless album, but which turns out to be one of the most impressive killings of this year!

Patrick Dallongeville

Paris-Move, Blues Magazine, Illico & BluesBoarder


New Blues Forrest McDonald Band Blues in a Bucket Parcbenchlive

Label: World Talent Records.

My neighbors love this album as much as I. How could they not? After all, I’ve played it at full volume all day and received a text from them, asking what the name of the kick-ass band was that they were hearing. (It’s a listening habit I usually only indulge when playing Beethoven or Freddie Mercury).

But as soon as I heard the initial powerful blast of the blues on award-winning singer-songwriter, guitarist Forrest McDonald‘s latest collection, I couldn’t help myself. This is raw soul squeezed into the emotionally satisfying orgasm of the blues. Give it a good listen and see if you don’t agree? Recorded mixed and mastered at Dogwood Recording & Mastering in Oxford, Georgia, with Ron Benner engineering, Blues in a Bucket showcases Forrest McDonald’s guitar mastery in full bloom, aided and abetted by a stellar cast of backing musicians, featuring the dynamic lead vocals of Andrew Black and special guest vocalist Becky Wright. One of the highlights is the contribution of Tony Carey on the piano and organ on two tracks. Truth be told, the entire band sizzles on each track, so perhaps Mr. Carey just benefits from some exceptional arrangements. Nonetheless, he is the salt and pepper to a tasting menu of blues that I’ve been craving. The musicianship onboard is matched by the quality of the stories inherent in the songs they bring to life. The eleven tracks are an achievement of soul-stirring personal narratives transformed into universal experiences.

Most memorable tracks: “Go To The Light,” “Going Back To Memphis,” and “Blues In The Basement.”

Greg Victor

Midwest Record Entertainment Reviews, news, and views.

Chicago, Ill – 1/3/2020

FORREST McDONALD BAND/Blues in a Bucket: Slinging his guitar over 50 years everywhere from Muscle Shoals to Boston with a slew of luminaries topped off by Bob Seger, McDonald doesn’t play like a 70 year old wondering what to do now. A high octane, high energy white boy with smoking soul, it’s clear he just doesn’t want to go home at the end of the night. A wild time that doesn’t give a whit about anything other than plugging into the cosmic, eternal groove.
(World Talent 15) – Chris Spector


2020, World Talent Records

On his 15th release, guitarist/songwriter Forrest McDonald is joined by a huge cast of musicians with horns, harmonica, keys and a number of lead and backing vocalists. In addition to his own releases, McDonald has played with the likes of Debbie Davies, Bonnie Bramlett and a host of others and has also recorded with Bobby Womack, Steve Perry and Bob Seger. That’s his guitar solo on Seger’s Old Time Rock and Roll! As iconic as that solo is, it turns out that it only touches the surface of McDonald’s guitar chops. As demonstrated repeatedly throughout this release, he is equally comfortable with low, slow grinding blues, Blues in the Basement, as he is with slinky swamp grooves with hints of psychedelia, Blue Morning Sun, funk, Going Back to Memphis and outright blues rockers, Blues in a Bucket and Hard to Lose. While his slick single string solos sometimes recall B.B. King he also soars with the intensity of the likes of Gary Moore with searing solos that cut to the bone.  While McDonald’s guitar is the star of the show, the horns drive the party tune Boogie Me Til I Drop and the upbeat, feel good groove of Let the Love in Your Heart. Lyrically, McDonald covers a lot of territory taking on everything from the comfortable bed fellows, Misery and Blues, to a tribute to Chicago, Windy City Blues, and even words of reassurance for those that have passed away, Go to the Light where everything is peaches and cream and grandma looks just like Betty Grable! Most of the vocals on this set are ably handled by Andrew Black who gets a well-deserved showcase, particularly on the slower numbers where the depth and range of his voice really shines.  A fine release that deserves many a spin.  – Mark Smith

Here is an excellent review of Blues in a Bucket from Marty Gunther from the Charlotte Blues Society.

Here is a 4 star **** review from Keys and Chords Belgium.


The Dutch translation is below.

The award-winning singer-songwriter, guitarist Forrest McDonald has been playing soul music that has been distilled into the blues sound for almost six decades. As an adventurous explorer, he writes down his songs. McDonald started playing the guitar in 1964 after meeting Muddy Waters at Café Midnight in Harlem. In the same year his father gave him the album “Two Bones and A Pick” by T-Bone Walker. He actually became addicted to the blues. Forrest turns seventy and his 15th CD “Blues in a Bucket” is already in stores. McDonald is also still an excellent songwriter and wrote all eleven songs together. And they vary and even have a wind section in the songs “Windy City Blues”, “Go To The Light” and the funky “Going Back To Memphis”. But “Boogie Till I Drop” with its New Orleans vibe is an exciting opener. Becky Wright can put “Powerhouse” in the pipeline. “Blues In The Basement” is a blues ballad that is powered by McDonald’s guitar and Andrew Black’s vocals. Just like the funky gospel track “Go To The Light” and the Louisiana inspired and closing “Let The Love In Your Heart”. “Blue Morning Sun” is also an emotional story about the loss of his brother who unfortunately lost the battle against cancer.


Philip Verhaege

Cash Box

Review by David Bowling

Veteran songwriter and guitarist deluxe Forrest McDonald will release his 15th album early next month. He will turn 70 during 2020, and while this is retirement territory for many people, McDonald shows no sign of slowing down as Bucket Of Blues is one of the strongest albums of his career.

McDonald has always been an excellent songwriter and on his newest release, he wrote of co-wrote all 11 tracks. The songs range from thoughtful to explosive, which are helped by a horn section. Except for two songs where he assumes the lead, he turns over the vocal duties to Andrew Black and special guest Becky Wright.

Blues In A Bucket travels in a number of directions but is ultimately tied together by incisive lyrics and McDonald’s guitar licks. A good way to start your 70th year.