My name is Pat McDonald and I'm from the small town of St. Simons Island, GA. I began playing drums around the age of twelve. I participated in junior high and high school music programs and, by the time I graduated, had been drumline captain in the school’s award-winning marching band for two years, played in the Georgia State Talent Contest winning band “MEGA”, and placed second in the Jacksonville, FL. region “Carmine Appice/ Synsonics Drums Drum Battle” drum contest.
After high school, I joined my first band, “CARUSO” and played the Florida/Georgia “A” club circuit for two years. “CARUSO” performed 6-7 nights a week for over two years and appeared as the opening act for many well known acts such as Pat Travers, Sea Level, and The Steve Morse Band.
After “CARUSO”, I attended Georgia Southern College for one year where I played snare drum in the marching band, percussion in the concert band, and drumset in the jazz ensemble. From G.S.C. I moved on to Boston’s Berklee College of Music where I studied Harmony, Ear Training, Music Production, and Drumset. While in Boston, I studied drumset privately with world-renowned instructor Gary Chaffee.
After leaving Berklee, I began “sorting it all out” in various Top-40 and cruise ship bands until I was offered the drum chair with “FLIGHTPATH”, the house band at Sarasota, Florida’s Downunder Jazz Bar. Because of it’s close proximity to the only major concert venue in town, the club was visited by many world-class musicians who came over after their shows to sit-in. Some of the band’s guests included Jeff Berlin, Neil Larsen, Alex Ligertwood, Kenny Drew Jr., Howard Levy, The Tonite Show Band, Spyro Gyra, and many more. Performing with these world class players helped give me a stronger insight into just how the “big guys” do what they do.
After “FLIGHTPATH” I joined Ichiban/Polystar recording artist Richy Kicklighter and played in numerous large, regional jazz festivals and shows. After a brief stint with Richy’s band I was offered the drum spot with Sarasota local favorite John Prestia. The John Prestia Group recorded it’s first C.D. “What’s Done Is Done” in October 1993, and it’s second,”The Last One Taken” in February, 1995. We received many favorable reviews and substantial regional airplay, and kept extremely busy in the local and regional scene. I kept busier still with a full time roster of students. While in Sarasota, I recorded with Dickey Betts for ‘The Songs Of Jimmie Rodgers: A Tribute” on Sony Records. In addition, I was a finalist in the Thoroughbred Music “ Best Unsigned Drummer In The Country” contest in October, 1994.
In April, 1997 I relocated to Nashville, TN to further my career in a major music town and haven’t looked back since. Moving to Nashville has proven to be an extremely positive step. Within a few months of my arrival I was offered the drum spot with country music legend Tanya Tucker. In between touring the country with Tanya, I kept very busy with local work and a growing calendar of session work. Nashville also gave me the opportunity to perform live and/or record with other well known artists such as Victor Wooten, Leon Russell, Reese Wynans, Jimmy Hall, Dash Crofts, Louie Shelton, Bonnie Bramlett, Johnny Neel, Kip Winger, Kelly Keagy Jim Horn and many others. The Nashville music scene has proven to be very diverse, allowing the opportunity to play many different styles of music from rock gigs, jazz gigs, country gigs, clinics to about anything else imaginable! Sometimes all in one single day!
Since March of 1999 I've been the drummer with The Charlie Daniels Band and have been touring the country non-stop, playing over 150 dates a year. I played with CDB on the first “Volunteer Jam Tour” in which CDB played host to artists such as Garth Brooks, Lee Roy Parnell, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ricky Medlocke, Tracy Byrd, Travis Tritt, Dan Baird and numerous others. The band reprised the tour again in 2000 and 2001 with guests such as Little Feat, .38 Special, Hank Williams Jr. and Dickey Betts and is currently on the road again for another Vounteer Jam Tour with The Marshall Tucker Band and The Outlaws. I've played drums and percussion on all CDB releases since 1999 including the CD's "Road Dogs", "The Live Record", "Redneck Fiddlin' Man", "How Sweet The Sound", "A Merry Christmas To All" and the single "That Ain't No Rag, It's A Flag" which reached number 35 on the Billboard Singles chart. CDB recieved a Grammy Nomination in 2003 for "How Sweet The Sound". In addition, I played on CDB's first live DVD concert recording "CDB-DVD-Live" recorded July 4, 2005. I have appeared in 4 CDB videos, "Road Dogs", "In America", "Southern Boy"(with Travis Tritt) and "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" compilation video.
Initially attracted to drums in the mid 70’s, I've had many influences in my drumming career. I've studied and emulated an extremely wide range of drummers and been fortunate to play a huge range of musical styles so I am comfortable in just about any musical situation. So far, I've been really fortunate in that I've been able to work steadily as a drummer for over 20 years now and there's no end in sight!
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