Superstar singer and songwriter Michael McDonald is readying a new album of classic soul-tinged ‘cover’ songs, titled Soul Speak , which will also include 3 new songs by the 5X Grammy-winner. The much anticipated release is scheduled to be in stores on March 11, with the first single from the new album, the Teddy Pendergrass classic “Love TKO,” about to hit radio and the digital domain.
The owner of one of the most distinctive voices in American music calls Soul Speak ‘a labor of love,’ – one of those rare works of genuine inspiration by an artist whose two previous salutes, Motown (2003), and Motown Two, released in 2004, were both Top 15 Billboard Hits.Produced by frequent Eric Clapton collaborator Simon Climie, this new elegantly-mounted collection burnishes McDonald’s flawless vocal delivery over an array of soul-inspired nuggets made famous by legends such as Stevie Wonder (“Living For The City”), Jackie Wilson (“Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher”), Van Morrison (“Into The Mystic”), Dionne Warwick (“Walk On By”), Bob Marley (“Redemption Song”) and Leonard Cohen (“Hallelujah”). McDonald’s 3 new offerings on the album are “Only God Can Help Me Now,” “Enemy Within,” and “Can’t Get Over You (Getting Over Me).”
Says Michael: “The entire project truly was a joy, though I found myself in some cases walking on a tightrope with these songs, trying to be true because of such memorable vocals delivered by the originators. I didn’t want to do an album where we’re trying to just imitate records that have already been made. For a lot of people, the songs on this one were historic events.”
Only a multi-talented music presence like McDonald could even attempt such a project. He’s formed a lifelong relationship with much of the material, going back beyond his days as the key catalyst in transforming the legendary Doobie Brothers from a guitar-based band to a more melodic R&B-driven force. Born in St. Louis in 1952, he rose to local prominence as a teenage keyboard player, guitarist and singer in local combos such as Mike and the Majestics, the Del Rays and an outfit called Blue.
“In those days if you wanted to be a musician you touched all that was out there. My style came as much from that great pool of soul singers as anything.” McDonald’s early emulation of his idols soon matured into his own captivating musical style, even blending a textured mix of keyboard and other influences in his groundbreaking association with Steely Dan. Rock fans soon came to recognize his trademark vocal delivery emblazoned across the grit and blue eyed soul of the legendary Doobie Brothers on hits such as “Takin’ It To The Streets,” and into his highly-successful solo career highlights of which include include “Sweet Freedom,” “On My Own,” and the Grammy-award winning “Ya Mo Be There.”
Michael McDonaldwill be performing for the first time at the Blue Note in New York, Tuesday, March 4 – Wednesday, March 5, 2008.
Buy Soul Speak.