With a career that spans more than 45 years, five-time Grammy- winner Michael McDonald is prolific. The appeal of the Missouri-born musician’s distinctive vocal style and honest delivery has proven to be ageless, both in terms of longevity and the collaborators he draws – from Aretha.Franklin to Grizzly Bear. Tuesday, Nov. 27, Community Concerts kicks of its 83rd season by bringing McDonald on his “Season of Peace, Holiday & Hits” tour to the Crown Theatre. This feel-good concert features McDonald’s rendition of beloved Christmas classics, new Christmas songs and hits from McDonald’s career.
McDonald started his professional journey by singing lead and backing vocals for Steely Dan’s touring band in the early- to mid-1970s. In 1975, he joined The Doobie Brothers, changing the iconic American rockers’ flavor with his interest in soul. He served as singer, keyboardist and songwriter on the Top 40 singles “Takin’ It To The Streets,” “It Keeps You Runnin’,” “Minute By Minute” and “What A Fool Believes.”
In 1982, after The Doobie Brothers’ initial dissolution, McDonald released his first solo studio album, “If That’s What It Takes.” This album featured one of his best-known hits, “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near).” He went on to release seven more solo albums between 1985-2008, and he delighted fans across the world by releasing another, “Wide Open,” last year.
In the midst of all of this, McDonald collaborated on writing and/or singing with various artists and groups. A small sample of these collaborators includes Carly Simon, Toto, Kenny Loggins, Ray Charles, Van Halen, James Ingram, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Vince Gill, Patti LaBelle and Aretha Franklin.
More recently, McDonald recorded a B-side of indie rocker group Grizzly Bear’s hit “While You Wait for the Others” and sang on Thundercat’s single “Show You the Way.”
With “Season of Peace, Holiday & Hits,” fans will enjoy standout songs from McDonald’s illustrious career and get into the holiday spirit with beautiful renditions of songs like “White Christmas/ Winter Wonderland” (feat. Jonny Lang), “Oh Holy Night,” “Christmas on the Bayou” and “Children Go Where I Send Thee” (feat. Twinkie Clark).
“You’re in for one of the best holiday and hits shows ever,” said Michael Fleishman, attractions director for Community Concerts. “And more stars are on the way!”
Community Concerts, the entity responsible for bringing McDonald to Fayetteville, is the city’s oldest arts organization. The volunteer-run nonprofit was founded in 1935 with the mission of enriching Fayetteville one concert at a time.
Each season, Community Concerts brings an array of world-class entertainment to Fayetteville at an affordable price. Community Concerts also created the Fayetteville Music Hall of Fame to recognize those who have brought musical distinction to this community, and it awards college music scholarships to promising local high school students. Finally, it organizes local music showcases to build community and support artists’ exposure, and it provides free concerts to local groups such as the Vision Resource Center, Fayetteville Urban Ministry and The Sunshine Center.
Community Concerts’ 83rd season, which Mc- Donald opens with his performance at the Crown, is themed “Rock and More!”
“Last year, we had a season that was more heavy on the Broadway-esque shows,” Fleishman said. “This season, we wanted to go back to really heavy on a music and concert emphasis. This season, maybe more than every other, is hit after hit. You will know just about every song on the stage this season.
“This is a singalong, have fun season.” Following McDonald is Three Dog Night on Feb. 22; Choir of Man on Feb. 27; The O’Jays on March 15; and America on April 4.
“All of these shows have A+ fan reviews,” Fleishman said. He noted that there is one show this season that does carry the Broadway feel – Choir of Man on Feb. 27.
“We were selected among a few other markets to be part of the inaugural North American tour for this show, and it’s become a worldwide singing and dancing sensation,” he said. The set is a working bar that gets danced and jumped all over, and audience members are even invited to participate, he added. “Don’t let the name fool you; it has nothing to do with a choir.”
To purchase tickets to see McDonald Nov. 27, or to learn more about Community Concerts and the rest of its season, visit. community-concerts.com, go to the Crown Box Office, or call Fleishman at 910-323-1991.