Beth McDonald
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Beth McDonald

Band Jazz Singer/Songwriter


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"Beth McDonald: "Home" and "At Last""

AUGUSTA, GA - With a sophisticated, somewhat timeless, style, Beth McDonald brings all the power of her vocals to center stage with the releases of “Home” and “At Last.”

Performing throughout the Mid-Atlantic area, McDonald has built a career on an impeccable voice. Swinging through the rafters of the soul, she unwinds her harmony in a delicate breeze of sensation.

On “Home,” McDonald seems to have found her place. Her own comfort with music comes through on every track, and the smooth vocals highlight the simplicity of the lyrical content. Within this composition, McDonald shines bright with an awareness of the beauty of having a place to land. Particular delights can be found in the simple lyrics of “Home,” the sweet sentiment of “Would you Dare,” and the powerful vocal of “It Would be so Easy.” Listeners may well find particular delight in the stunning composition of “Second Guessing,” which may well inspire a thousand questions per hearing.

With the release of “At Last: Love Songs and Lullabies,” McDonald shows off her soft side while displaying an amazing array of vocal talents concerning classic songs. Whether it’s the belting chords of “At Last” or the brilliant brightness of “You are my Sunshine,” McDonald takes over these older songs with a smooth sensibility. Whether it’s the haunting hum of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” or the sweet soul of “The Way You Look Tonight,” McDonald visualizes the amount of emotion that these particular compositions should always carry.

A stunning voice that breathes life into recordings old and new, Beth McDonald is a singer to behold.

J. Edward Sumerau - Metro Spirit


In public appearances, one of Beth McDonald performances is a tribute show to Peggy Lee, and it’s not
hard to understand why - there are a lot of similarities. A sort of detached cool, polished to perfection, but
almost…almost unapproachable.

But Ms. McDonald is a songwriter, too - and one of my favorite of the original tracks is on the “Home”
album - titled “Second Guessing.” The liner notes say it was inspired by a friend going through marital
turbulence. One of the questions I ask about original material - is does it simply touch on personal things
(”The wind blew through the window today…”) or does it touch on themes that are more universal. This song won me over with the final line: “I guess only time will tell | If I want you to hold me | or I just need to be held.”

In short, her original material stands up just fine against the standards.

Ms. McDonald fronts a Washington, DC, area band - the New Legacy Jazz Band. The band’s leader,
Alan Dale is on drums. Props to the horn guys - Tim Leahey on trumpet and flugelhorn and Jon Mathis on trumpet (and guitar).

But it’s Ms. McDonald’s voice that shines here. Versatile, whether handling blues, ballads, lullabies or
her sultry take on Peggy Lee’s signature song, “Fever.” And although I firmly believe Muppet songs are best performed by performers clad in felt, I’ll forgive “Rainbow Connection” on the “At Last” disc - if only
for Ms. McDonald’s winsome handling of the material.

I wouldn’t mind hearing Ms. McDonald and the guys let go a little - I’d gladly trade a little of the polish of these works to hear her and the band open the throttle a couple of notches. But that’s just picky. My favorite of the pair is “Home.” But both discs represent work of the highest order, and are highly

-Doug Boynton,,


With singer/songwriter Beth McDonald, music is intensely personal. All aspects of music—performance, composition, arrangement, song choice and delivery—are branded with McDonald's vision. Her liner notes
are full of mention of her family, motherhood and love. Her style is 1920s-1940s standards waxing
nostalgic (yet still freshly modern) of the simpler, more wholesome things in life. This feeling is enhanced by her scrubbed, girl-next-door appearance and honest singing style. There is no vocal bragging here with excessive scatting and vocalese, just old and new songs well sung and played.

At Last: Love Songs And Lullabies

At Last is subtitled Love Songs and Lullabies and is presented as such. The title song is given no torch
treatment (don't expect Beyonce's barn burning take). No, McDonald plants her flag in the standard and
sings it like a high love ballad, buttoned down by a carefully considered rhythm section. She doubles her voice to superb effect, performing harmony with herself. Sylvia Fine's "Lullaby In Ragtime" from 1959's Five Pennies is beautifully old-fashioned while beautifully recorded with modern technology. McDonald's
repertoire choice is tart and intelligent as a spring strawberry bursting in your mouth.

McDonald's song writing skills are exceptional. "Dancing With Wonder" is perfectly quaint without being hokey. This song, with Jared Denard's steady ukulele, has an oddly country flavor, not unlike Norah Jones only with more country chicken broth added. It could be sung by Faith Hill with great success. "The Way You Look Tonight" continues the trend of straight performance, reverent and honorable to the composer's original intentions. It is this detail that gives this collection its charm. McDonald takes an almost Floyd Cramer approach to the arrangement (Lou Rainone's fine piano bears this out admirably).

"Can't Help Falling In Love With You" and "What A Wonderful World" are presented in the same vein as the rest of the recording, that is with McDonald's individualistic style. Vocalists have rarely painted within the lines with such success, avoiding boring performances. McDonald closes with a bonus "You Are My Sunshine." Doubtless she has sung this song to her children.


Where At Last casts McDonald in the wholesome, motherly role, Home has her donning a bit of rouge and flaunting the vamp in a collection of fun and provocative originals and standards. Her playfully scolding "Why Don't You Do Right" and the breezy "Sway" show her stretching in positive directions. "Home," the first of four original McDonald compositions, finds the singer in a country, church choir singing mood, again with a melody and hook that would flatter the likes of Faith Hill. Duke Ellington's "I Aint Got Nothing But The Blues" gently swaggers with the boast of John Mathis and Tim Leahy's trumpets.

The disc finds firm grounding in the ballads "I've Got A Crush On You " and "Cry Me A River," with
Wayne Wilentz providing the tasty piano comping that makes the performances sound so lush. Sultry
takes on "Besame Mucho" (the disc's lone instrumental), "Fever" and "Temptation" slowly increase the temperature, with the last two creating a humid juggernaut for the close of the recording.

It is difficult to find fault with either of these albums save for the conservative approach applied. However, this conservatism is also the charm. Beth McDonald deserves much, much more attention and the jazz public deserves to hear much, much more of her.

- C. Michael Bailey,
- All About Jazz

"Beth McDonald"

BETH McDONALD/Home: Young jazz singer savvy enough to surround herself with cats that played
with the real cats from back in the day checks in with an eclectic mix of tunes from the familiar to
originals. Reaching for a supper club sophistication that she would have had to absorbed from Chris
Connor records, McDonald knows what she wants and certainly has an ear cocked toward getting it.
Certainly a nice, new charmer to get to know better.

BETH McDONALD/At Last: Lullabies and love songs that rang her bell during her pregnancy,
McDonald plays this from the heart whether reaching far back or not. Recorded without any pressure,
midwived by the same crew that was around on her “Home” release, if you dug her once, you’ll be sure to
dig her again.
- Midwest Record Recap

"At Last, Love Songs & Lullabies"

Beth McDonald - AT LAST, LOVE SONGS AND LULLABIES: This CD is like a jazz love song
for Beth's children, but it's not "dumbed down" with kids stuff or "simple songs" - it's the full enchilada for jazz listeners, but the pace is relaxed & just as you might imagine if your mom were singing for you!
She's joined by some excellent players (LouRainone & Wayne Wilentz on piano; Jay Miles & Tom
Baldwin doing bass, Alan Dale on drums, Jon Mathis playing trumpet & guitar, Tim Leahey's
trumpet/flugelhorn & Jared Denhard on Celtic harp), who play great straight-ahead jazz, but intersperse some very unique sounds in the mix (including the kids laughing their buns off). I wish I had the talent
Beth displays for jazz vocals, but then, that's why she made the album & I didn't... ha! ha! Hardcore jazz-heads may not appreciate it, but I found it very entertaining and a perfect introduction to jazz for the
kids in my life. I give this one a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, for sure!

Improvijazzation Nation #88
- Improvijazzation Nation


Only Forever (2006), At Last: Love Songs & Lullabies (2008), Home (2008), Take It From Me (2010)



Beth is a stay-at-home mom who has been a songwriter her entire life but never dreamed she'd be singing in public by herself, let alone sharing her original material with an audience. She has been praised for writing material that reaches the hearts of her listeners, and for combining simple yet beautiful melodies with lyrics that express emotions that are universal in the human experience. When not focusing her time on her two young boys, this "sultry songstress" (being given that title makes her laugh, especially as she goes about her daily mom chores!) performs at jazz festivals, historic theatres, country clubs and elegant hotels. Her influences include Diana Krall, Peggy Lee, Billy Joel, Michael Buble, Steve Tyrell and Eva Cassidy.