The Doobie Brothers to reunite with Michael McDonald on new album

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The Doobie Brothers have almost completed a new album set to feature Michael McDonald, marking their first collaborative original studio release with the singer since One Step Closer in 1980.

In a Facebook message for fans, Pat Simmons provided new details on the project: “We are very close to finishing up an album’s worth of new songs. We’re lucky once again to have John Shanks producing and Michael McDonald joining in with us on this one!”

Simmons continued: “Tom [Johnston], Michael, John and myself have composed a great bunch of songs that we’re really proud of and John McFee is really a stand out on the tracks. It’s the first time in 40 years that Michael has recorded a whole album with the band and in my humble opinion it’s turning out to be some of the best music we’ve ever made together!”

Initially, McDonald stepped in as a temporary solution for The Doobie Brothers in the 1970s when a medical issue sidelined their lead singer. He started off with backing vocal duties while Johnston recovered, but his role quickly evolved as his bandmates discovered his wealth of original songs that would shape the group’s direction and sound.

McDonald subsequently played an integral role in the creation of the 1976 album Takin’ It to the Streets, marking the emergence of his increasingly prominent pop-oriented style.

“It kept the ball rolling. It was another direction altogether musically, but it was a popular one for a lot of people,” Johnston said. “They really liked this change. So these kinds of things – you can call them blessings, you can call them whatever you want – but these things happen for a reason and that worked.”

McDonald’s most recent collaboration on a Doobie Brothers album came in 2014 when he contributed to their LP comprised of reimagined classics.

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