Episode 300: Michael McDonald


The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, three top 10 solo hits and one of the defining voices of his generation — but through it all, Michael McDonald has remained utterly humble. He didn’t feel he had the chops to make it as a full time studio musician, he tells me toward the beginning of our chat, so he sought a different path. Plan B gave the world “What a Fool Believes,” “I Keep Forgettin’,” “Takin’ it To the Streets” and “On My Own,” among others. Not too shabby, as far as those things go. Last year, McDonald returned to recording with his first album of original material in 17 years, following a fruitful run that found the singer releasing three covers records, largely drawing upon the Motown songbook. Wide Open arrived as the musician found new life breathed into his career, courtesy of the lovingly parodic web series Yacht Rock, alongside collaborations with a new generation of artists, including Thundercat, Grizzly Bear and Solange. McDonald wasted no time getting back into the studio this time around. This month, he’ll release his latest Christmas album, Season of Peace. The singer joined us for Episode 300 to discuss getting back into the studio, finding his voice as a songwriter and the sorry state of politics in 2018.


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