To truly be a groundbreaking songwriter is a tremendous accomplishment. We have such an achiever right here in Dirt City in Mike McDonald. In the film “Hard Core Logo” there is scene that zooms into a map of Alberta. The highway running into Edmonton from the east is named the “Mike McDonald Freeway”. As such, his contribution to the Canadian music scene is immortalized.
McDonald is credited with innovating the Alt-country genre, dubbed “cowpunk” when he debuted this new pioneering style with his band Jr. Gone Wild that he formed in 1983.
His first foray into the music industry was in the spring of 1979 when he was just sixteen. The band was Joey Did and the Necrophiliacs, which morphed into the Malibu Kens featuring Mike Sinatra, which was McDonald’s nom-de-plume at the time.
For a few years in the mid-’80s, McDonald also served as a member of Jerry Jerry & the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra. He also did time in The Dusty Chaps, and Hookahman during those groups’ heyday.
Certainly a local hero in Edmonton (among other things, he “discovered” the legendary Spartans Mens Club, hosted the Rosebowl jam for over 15 years, and started the nationally known and still running Hair OF The Dog Saturday gig at The Blackdog Freehouse), in the late ’90s he put together the Mike McDonald Band, which released a CD and commanded an enthusiastic Alberta-based following.
McDonald is currently performing, recording, and songwriting. He fronts A Bunch of Mary’s and Jr. Gone Wild; and as well is a solo artist. November 21, 2014, McDonald released his debut live solo album “Live At The Blue Chair Café” that he recently recorded with Kirby and Miles Wilkinson.
Unadorned by the electric chaos of a band and massive volume, Mike’s solo show is edgy folk, peppered with story and commentary, often hilarious. He’s a true alternative to affected bombast and disengenuous self aggrandizing. Mike McDonald is the real deal.