Michael McDonald returns to Beaver Creek Monday | VailDaily.com

Michael McDonald returns to Beaver Creek Monday

If you go

Who: Michael McDonald performs “This Christmas – An Evening of Holiday and Hits.”

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22.

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek.

Cost: Tickets start at $140.

More information: 970-845-8497 or www.vilarpac.org.

Dr. Michael McDonald. Let that roll around in your rock ‘n’ roll head for a little bit.

You know Michael McDonald. He’s a former Doobie Brother and penned more No. 1 hits for the ’70s and ’80s super group than any other member. He moved to the Doobies from Steely Dan, where he was playing with Walter Becker and Donald Fagan.

After five Grammy Awards and a a lifetime of honors, he’s now Dr. Michael McDonald.

That silver hair and beard — and it’s silver, not some lesser hue — stood in front of 900 graduates from 58 countries to receive an honorary doctorate from Boston University’s Berklee School of Music. On that same stage were Mavis Staples; renowned Cuban musicians Chucho Valdes and his father, Bebo Valdes; and jazz saxophonist, composer and bandleader Kenny Garrett.

“It’s always fun for me to get back together with the guys for whatever reason, whether it’s a live gig or just a personal thing.”
Michael McDonald
Musician

The concert was awesome.

McDonald said it kind of gave him hope for the future.

“To be among this graduating class, to see these kids, and to perform last night with such brilliant young musicians who have such finesse beyond their years is one of the most inspirational moments of my entire career,” McDonald told the graduates.

McDonald plays Monday night at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.

Missouri man

Where we’re from makes us who we are in many ways, and McDonald grew up around Ferguson, Missouri.

“We have to look at this honestly,” McDonald told the Pensacola Daily Record. “We’ve come a long way and we have a long way to go.”

He said it’s difficult at best.

“I pray for them all and we’ll get through this with a better understanding of what’s wrong with our system, and how we can make it better and more equitable for all of us, especially for the citizens who are supposed to be protected. And I believe that it is in everybody’s best interest to do that. Law enforcement, citizens, hopefully we can hold together through this, and realize that what’s right for one of us is right for all of us. And the truth is for any of us is the truth for all of us.”

Born into a musical family on Feb. 12, 1952, McDonald started singing when he was four years old. After tinkering with banjo and guitar, he found his true passion at the piano. Soon, he was writing his first songs and doing the time-honored apprenticeship with bands in the family garage. Determined to pursue music full-time, McDonald moved to Los Angeles in the early ’70s, where he honed his skills as a session musician and singer.

That led him to Steely Dan for four of their classic albums. Listen to FM staples like “Black Friday” and “Peg.” That’s him on the keyboards and background vocals behind Donald Fagan and Walter Becker.

With Steely Dan he had played with Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, a founding member of the Doobie Brothers. The Doobies were working through some personnel changes and invited him to join. The band’s second greatest hits album was mostly McDonald’s material.

He left the Doobie Brothers 30 years ago for a solo career, but is back with the band for “Southbound,” a collection of duets with country stars released last month.

Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Zac Brown Band and many other leading country artists join the Doobie on some of the group’s biggest hits, including “Black Water,” “China Grove” and “Listen to the Music.”

“It’s always fun for me to get back together with the guys for whatever reason, whether it’s a live gig or just a personal thing,” McDonald told Rolling Stone magazine.

Monday’s performance at the Vilar is a more intimate concert featuring holiday classics and some of McDonald’s own music.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.