Michael McDonald - Boz Scaggs
Grammy award-winning singer, songwriters Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs team up for a co-headling tour at the Vina Robles Amphitheatre on August 16.
With a career that encompasses five Grammys, numerous chart successes, personal and professional accolades, as well as collaborations with some of the world’s most prominent artists, Michael McDonald remains an enduring force in popular music.
His distinctive and soulful voice is easily recognizable and is one of the most yearningly emotive instruments of our times. To this add formidable songwriting and keyboard skills, and you have an artist who has been a singular musical presence for four decades. From ‘70s-era Doobie Brothers classics including Top 40 singles as “Takin’ It To The Streets,” “It Keeps You Runnin’,” “Minute By Minute” and “What A Fool Believes,” to his solo hits like “I Keep Forgettin’” through two highly-acclaimed Motown albums, genre-busting guest spots and innovative concept shows, the five-time Grammy Award winning McDonald is both timeless and ever-evolving.
His distinct vocal style also made him one of the world’s most sought-after session singers. Beyond his hits with The Doobies, McDonald has lent his voice to records by an A-Z of artists, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Vince Gill and Grizzly Bear. During the ‘80s and ‘90s, his solo career zoomed from success to success on the wings of evergreen hits like “Sweet Freedom,” “On My Own” (a duet with Patti LaBelle) and the Grammy-winning duet with James Ingram “Yah Mo B There.”
Boz Scaggs most recent release, A Fool To Care, showcases his sense of fun, as well as his ability and willingness to wander in any musical direction throughout the album’s twelve tracks. The inspirational heart of those songs lies in the sounds of Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma that played such a vital role in shaping Scaggs’ musical sensibility, but they venture forth boldly from there, ranging from the seductive New Orleans rumble of the title track to the wry social commentary of “Hell to Pay” and a heartbreakingly wistful interpretation of The Band’s “Whispering Pines.” As he did on his most recent previous album, Memphis (2013), Scaggs worked with producer Steve Jordan and a telepathic core band consisting of Jordan on drums, Willie Weeks on bass, Ray Parker, Jr. on rhythm guitar and Jim Cox on keyboards. “Steve works on a high energy level,” Scaggs says of his prized collaborator. “It’s relaxed and easy, but also very highly charged. His direction is laser-focused, and his playing is intense. It’s a whirlwind and he’s a strong leader, but it’s also lovely and loose and cool. That’s all a comfort to me. I’ve produced myself and I feel pretty solid in the studio, but it’s really nice for me not to have to do anything but help select the material and be free to be a singer and a guitar player.”
Fans who have followed Scaggs’ remarkable career dating back to the late Sixties with the Steve Miller Band; his solo triumphs with such classic albums as Silk Degrees (1976) and Middle Man (1980); and the splendid assurance of late-period high points like Some Change (1994) and Dig (2001), will instantly recognize Scaggs’ characteristically deft touch as a singer. He brings a sly drawl to a funky workout like Li’l Millet and the Creoles’ “Rich Woman,” a conversational intimacy to Bobby Charles’s “Small Town Talk,” and an elegant delicacy to the Impressions’ “I’m So Proud.” He easily negotiates the Latin flavoring of “Last Tango on 16th Street” and “I Want to See You,” both written by San Francisco bluesman (and longtime Scaggs compatriot) Jack Walroth. His soul is effortless and deeply felt, never making a show of itself, but unmistakably evident in every lyric he delivers.
- Wednesday, Aug 16 Vina Robles Amphitheatre