Forrest McDonald, over his lifetime, has been coast to coast in the United States pursing his dream and providing us with some memorable guitar playing along the way. He jammed with Muddy Waters in New York City as a teenager, rolled out to California and jammed there with Van Halen and Steve Perry in the seventies, played the guitar solo with Bob Seger on the mega hit Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll recording and with Bobby Womack on Roads of Life, and then settled down in Atlanta in the 1990’s.
Considered a musician’s musician, but largely unknown by the general music public, Forrest has done a number of recordings with the Forest McDonald Band on his label, World Talent Records, in the years since he began calling Atlanta home. The latest release, Blues In A Bucket, is a stellar album that features a number of talented backing musicians including Andrew Black (vocals), Becky Wright (guest vocals), and Tony Carey (guest keyboards/organ).
The album opens with a New Orleans style “down the bayou” tune Boogie Me Til I Drop that channels a bit of Dr. John……loved it!! Blue Morning Sun is a touching song done in remembrance of his brother that he lost recently. The slide guitar work on the tune is absolutely world class and evokes the spirit of the Macon sound of the seventies. The title cut, Blues In a Bucket, is some nice rockin’ blues, and Hard to Lose, Blues in the Basement, and Misery and Blues are just badass low down blues recordings. Going Back to Memphis is a great funky tune with some stellar horn and organ playing. And the album closes like it started with the delicious down the bayou sound of Let the Love in Your Heart.
Forrest has been playing his heart out on the guitar for over 55 years and he deserves wider recognition for his talent and his lifetime of contributions to the blues. And he certainly defines what I mean by the term “the roadhouse blues” on this fabulous recording. I hope my readers will consider purchasing a copy of this album both for the great songs included and as a big thank you to him for a music life well done!
Forrest McDonald – Blues in a Bucket (2020 World Talent Records)
Ben Vee is an internet DJ and writer from New Orleans that now lives in Connecticut with his wife Annette. He started spinning records back in the 1970’s and has been writing about the roadhouse blues since 2011. He does two roadhouse blues shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and he writes about the blues when the urge strikes on http://www.benveeblues.com.