Stand My Ground, the new CD from the Forrest McDonald Band, does exactly that . . . and it’s supported by more than a half century of Forrest’s passion for creating real music. It’s obvious from the first note the Forrest McDonald Band, featuring Becky Wright on vocals, has produced another flawless gem of a blues album. Black Jack Ketchum/WRFG-Atlanta 89.3 FM/wrfg.org
I fell in love with Stand My Ground in the first 12 bars. I listened to this CD several times over. It has great grooves. Forrest and his band are as tight as ever. Why Forrest McDonald’s music isn’t at the top of every blues chart is a mystery. If you get the opportunity to see them live, don’t pass it up! This entire cd is excellent! Forrest’s guitar playing has always been second to none. I do love Becky’s voice. A sensual balance of emotion with just enough grit to believe she means what’s she’s singing. Mary4Music.com
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). 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
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.
A Decade of Blues” which covers the period from 1997 till last year, is already his 10th CD! He has been active as a musician since 1964 when he started playing with his first band “The Oxbow Incidents”. In 1969 he changed over to the “Boston Rock Symphony” with Blues frontman James Montgomery, followed by a series of bands such as “Silver, Platinum & Gold”, “The Spies” and the “3 D Bluesband”, before founding “The Forrest McDonald Band” in 2004. This CD is a compilation drawn from several albums from the last 10 years and features a number of tracks sung by the fantastic Andrew Black who did the vocals on “Colorblind”. Also Roy Gaines, Raymond Victor, Forrest’s wife Kaylon McDonald, all strong voices, account for a few numbers. And, naturally most important, there is Forrest’s guitar work, a guitarist at home in every style. On this long CD with 18 songs, we get to hear a wide palette of blues. From Chicago blues to Southern rock, from Texan boogies to other things with Muscle Shoals overtones. This last is somehow normal as Forrest lived for a while in Muscle Shoals, recording there for Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll”, a song that ended up on the CD “Stranger in Town”. Highlights from this CD are “Blues in the Basement”, with, besides Forrest’s wonderful guitar work, showcases Andrew Black’s magisterial voice (which also shines on “River of Tears”). “I Feel So Bad”, “Mean Old World” and “Red Sunglasses” are further standouts on this more than extraordinary blues record covering ten years of this undervalued artist. If you didn’t know him either, then dear blues lovers you’d better do something about it urgently, for he’s highly recommendable!” (RON)
This is the first CD with Forrest & Kaylon McDonald
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.
The 2006 JPF Winner for Blues Song Of The Year, Going Back To Memphis, is available here.Produced by Tony Carey and Forrest McDonald.
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.
At the Melbourne Art Festival
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.
Get “LIVE” here
With special guest Steady Rollin Bob Margolin.Get your “Finger Lickin’ Blues” here
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.
With special guests W.C. With Handy Nominee Roy Gaines and James Montgomery 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.
Find out “What its It Gonna Take” here
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!
Winner “Spirit Of The Blues”
With Raymond Victor & the 3D Blues Band Played on over 1250 radio stations world wide.
Winner of the 1999 & 2000 Real Blues Magazine Award for “Best Southern Blues Band”
Winner of the 2000 Real Blues Magazine Award for “Best Southern Blues Release, for What’s it gonna’ take?”
Winner of the Just Plain Folks 2000 Music Awards Winners for
“Blues CD of the year”
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
We’re playing this one! Send us another copy.WPEB ~ Philadelphia, PA
I’m spinning Take Me To The Country on GuitarMac’s Blues Express. KCBL ~ Sacramento, CA
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
Forrest on Fire 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
Look for Forrest on Fire on our playlists.Cornbread, The Chicago Blues X-plosion, WJKL ~ Chicago, IL
We are playing all 13 tracks.WQOX ~ Memphis, TN
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
I like this CD quite a lot! Best of luck with this new release.Stan Ruffo, Blues On Tap ~ World Wide on Broadcast.com