Story by Kaleah Wooten / Contributing Writer
Photos by MT SPARE
“Music Mondays” is one of the many opportunities for Middle Tennessee State University students to break up the humdrum of the pandemic. Every Monday, MT Spare and Match Records bring a new local artist to the KUC Theater stage, where students can kick back and enjoy live music of all genres for free.
This week, singer and guitarist Sean “Mack” McDonald hailing from Augusta, Georgia, is bringing the blues to MTSU, but in a good way.
McDonald is a junior majoring in Audio Production here at MTSU.
Although only 19 years old, he is referred to by those who know him as an “old soul.” McDonald has had music in his blood from a young age. He began his musical journey playing piano, but added guitar to his arsenal at age 7. McDonald draws influence from blues guitar legends like B.B King all the way to new players like Jontavious Willis.
This Monday, he shared some of his heart and soul and with us on the stage.
The show begins with McDonald walking down the aisles, strumming his way to the stage. McDonald and his crew “The Blue Lights” (Grant Argent, bass; Phillip Prior, drums) open with a taste of traditional blues. After stepping on stage, McDonald showcases his raspy, old blues vocals with “Let The Good Times Roll.” McDonald keeps the blues alive with performances of “A Whole Lotta Love.”
As the show goes on, we’re taken around the country; from Memphis to New Orleans to Chicago, we hear thundering bluesy wails about old lovers and dedications to all the “country girls” with McDonald’s performance of “Down Home Girl.”
Whenever “Mack” steps away from the mic, his energetic blues melodies radiate from the guitar. Under the blue lights, McDonald and his glimmery guitar, a Schecter PT Special, commanded the room with every note.
I am grateful to have met McDonald during my freshman year at MTSU; we not only have become life-long friends since then, but I have had the pleasure of watching him soar into the music industry. McDonald is one of many young pioneers who are bringing the roots of blues back to our generation. Performers like McDonald are just one of many diverse elements of the MTSU community.
McDonald’s performance was right in tune with Black History Month.
In collaboration with the Black History Month Committee, Monday’s performance gave us a lesson on some of the founding fathers of blues, gospel and R&B. McDonald’s guitar solos are laced with rhythms and melodies like those of Ray Charles, T-Bone Walker, and Johnny “Guitar” Watson.
When asked why it was so special for him to take the stage during this time, McDonald responded: “The blues is black music, and the blues is the most original form of American music. That in itself shows the connection between Black history and American history!”
McDonald sheds light on the influence of the blues and why he wants to share it with the MTSU student body: “A lot of people think the blues is dead. It’s not dead; it’s just changed form. Blues is a basic form of all music and it’s important for people to see the root of their favorite genres. The blues has stood the test of time. It was very important to us back then and it’s very important today.”
You can go back and watch McDonald’s soulful performance on MTSU Student Events LIVE’s Youtube channel.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Ashley Barrientos, email email@example.com.
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