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Michael McDonald Performs at Chumash
 

April 7, 2017—-Santa Ynez, Ca.

 

The newly remodeled Samala showroom became an elegant  backdrop for former

Doobie Brother, Michael McDonald and his distinguished entourage of musicians Friday night.   House lights dimmed, revealing a stage bathed in blue light.  A packed-in parcel of patrons cheered.   Enter stage right: a trim, bespectacled Michael who wasted no time settling on his piano bench to hammer out Keeps You Runnin.

McDonald, whose early musical  stomping grounds with the likes of Kenny Loggins and Steely Dan said, “It’s good to be back home here in California.”  Cheers again.  Peeling off his jacket, the 65 year-old music man who brought “cool” back to playing church organ, performed a classy cover of the Staples’ Freedom Highway.  Though he is conservatory-serious, Michael managed to tie in an age-related laugh as a segue to Keep Forgettin.  The audience guffawed but he fudged not a single lyric.  Again: seriously precise. With a style that ranges from brandy alexander smooth jazz (On My Own) to the admonishing tone of an Atlanta Baptist preacher (ala Takin It to the Streets), there is literally something for everyone to love.

On to mid-concert as  McDonald covered Cindy Walker’s You Don’t Know Me.  He didn’t need to channel Ray Charles.  He simply created a fresh and spicy version of the classic. Time seemed to slip by like a California mudslide and in the stroke of a piano key, it was over.  Or was it?  What?  No Takin It to the Streets?   A hectic roar arose from the audience, bringing him back on stage to perform his signature message of peace, straight from his Doobie dys in 1975.  All rose.  Most danced and raised holy hands and then, the white god of Motown exited stage right, shaking a few lucky hands before he departed. 

 If you missed him this time, don’t fret.  Mr. McDonald returns to the California central coast again in September where he will perform at Vino Robles with Boz Scaggs.

 

 

 

 

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