Mark McDonald took his first music lesson when he was 5 years old and played woodwind instruments throughout Grade and High School. He bought his first guitar when he was 14 , an electric Silvertone Les Paul Copy ordered from the Sears and Roebuck Catalogue, and delivered to the small Kansas town where he grew up. That started a lifelong relationship with the guitar.
Throughout a very interesting and adventuresome life, a guitar was always there. Mark has worked as a fireman on the railroad, has been a professional pilot and aviation businessman, as well as a real estate broker. But over the years one overriding passion has always been at the forefront of his thoughts, that of music and making it in the most articulate, soulful, and passionate way attainable.
His biggest influences were Delta Blues, Chicago Blues, and Southern Rock/Blues. The originals like Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie Johnson, and Son House made a big impression on him. Second generation guys like John Hammond, Duane and Greg Allman, also played a big role in the music that he loved and in the evolution of his own sound.
The music of Robert Johnson has probably made the biggest impression on Mark and any show incorporates many of the 29 songs that Johnson recorded. He has spent many hours with Honeyboy Edwards over the years, listening to many of the first hand accounts of experiences with Robert. Honey Boy traveled with, befriended, and was there by Johnson's side at his death bed. Sharing those stories and experiences had been invaluable in understanding the man behind the music.
Mark is devoted to being the best that he can be and is always striving to improve and expand his capabilities. He has either studied personally or played with David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Lousiana Red, Robert Belfour, Jorma Kaukonen, Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell, Paul Geremia, Terry "Harmonica" Bean, Steve James, Bob Brozman, John Cephas, Phil Wiggins, Drink Small, Warner Williams, Walker T. Ryan, David Jacob Strain, Keith Allen, and Geoff Achison over the years.
You can find Mark performing solo or with The Mark McDonald Band all over Sonoma County and the Bay Area.