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Interview:
Michael McDonald Moves From Motown To Christmas
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

Michael McDonald’s had a career that seems “strange” to the singer, songwriter and keyboardist.

“I went from an artist who rarely made records to someone who had this catalog of songs,” notes the former Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers member. “It does feel a little weird because I didn’t even realize where that transition happened myself.”

McDonald’s solo career includes a pair of hit albums of Motown covers, as well as two holiday releases — 2001’s “In the Spirit: A Christmas Album” and 2005’s “Through the Many Winters,” which was sold through Hallmark. It means that after Thanksgiving, McDonald puts away some of his material and pulls out the Yuletide favorites, a situation he certainly isn’t complaining about.

“It’s a nice change of pace for us musically, a chance to celebrate the holidays with our audience,” explains McDonald, 55, who says the shows are “a combination of holiday music, traditional and original, and our regular set, roughly half and half, maybe favoring our two Christmas albums.”

McDonald is staying busy in the non-holiday realm, too. He and his wife, Amy Holland, are among the several guest singers on the new Willie Nelson single “Whatever Happened to Peace on Earth,” and McDonald also appears on recent releases by Fourplay, Jonny Lang and Natalie McMaster. His song “Obsession Blues” is part of the soundtrack for the upcoming film “The Amateurs.”

He’ll also release a new album in March, which he describes as “a combination of songs, that through the years, I always wanted to perform or record, plus three original songs written for the record.” And, he says, a third Motown album may also surface at some point in the future.

Michael McDonald performs at 8 p.m. Tuesday (Dec. 11) at Orchestra Hall in the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $22.50-$128.50. Call (313) 576-5111 or visit www.detroitsymphony.com.

Web Site: www.detroitsymphony.com

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