Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Doobie Brothers Reunite with Michael McDonald on Country Collabs Disc

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Doobie Brothers Reunite with Michael McDonald on Country Collabs Disc

Article excerpt

Doobie Brothers reunite with Michael McDonald

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TORONTO - To hear the Doobie Brothers tell it, the best part of reuniting with former bandmate Michael McDonald was the jokes.

"A lot of people won't realize this, but Michael is so funny," said longtime Doobie Brother John McFee during a recent visit to Toronto, seated in a triangle between fellow members Patrick Simmons and Tom Johnston.

"We got to hear him tell jokes a lot and it was great. Michael's a great joke-teller."

His bandmates nod.

"'95, we did a tour with Michael and we were on the road with Steve Miller and ... that's the first time I've really toured with Michael before, and I said: 'You could do a standup show,'" recalled an animated Johnston. "He had us all in tears. And the joke ... would go on for 20 minutes. And he kept it up and made it work for 20 minutes.

"I said, God. That's a talent in itself."

The Doobie Brothers have kept it up for a minute themselves. The yacht-rockers had a run of gold- or platinum-certified albums between 1972 and 1989. They've just wrapped a Canadian tour (sans McDonald) and just released new (old) music in the form of "Southbound," a tribute record that finds the venerable California band reworking their own songs with help from the modern stars of Nashville: Blake Shelton, Zac Brown Band, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, Hunter Hayes.

Though they never really considered themselves country, the Doobie Brothers' smoothly chart-conscious mixture of roots, soul, Southern rock and R&B seemed an easy fit for the record's guests. …

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