Michael McDonald

Posted January 15, 2009 in

Elephant in the room: no living human possesses more Dad Vibe than singer/songwriter Michael McDonald. The man who made the Doobie Brothers grow up has himself aged splendidly, his leonine mane gone silver, his croon having grown only more husky. If George Lucas had aged gracefully, we would want him to look like this. As the Nate Dogg of the adult contemporary universe—collaborating or appearing with Patti Labelle, Christopher Cross, Toto, Bonnie Raitt, Chaka Kahn, Toni Braxton, et al.—McDonald has made himself an easy target. His ubiquity in the soft rock canon mirrors soft rock’s ubiquity in our daily lives. It’s easy to forget what colossal pipes the man owns. Without that soulful liquid smoke of a voice, the actual music of “I Keep Forgettin’ “(an emotional H-bomb if heard at the wrong moment in one’s life) would pack all the heft of the Hill Street Blues theme song. The standard Michael McDonald impression—and we’ve all done one, no need to be coy—falters not on inflection, but range. Try singing “What A Fool Believes” from chorus back down into verse. Unless you’re a prodigy, mutant, or McDonald himself, you’re going to falter on either the swooping falsetto or throaty baritone. A normal human can’t do it. Here’s something else we can’t do: get a thousand smiling Caucasians to clap in perfect 4/4 time. Guess who can? (Sam McPheeters)


Michael McDonald at Morongo Casino, 49500 Seminole Drive, Cabizon,

(888) 667-6646, Sat., Jan. 17, 8PM; Tickets $40-$60



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