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Aaron McDonnell

Spicewood Vinyards Chili Cook-off

Feb. 25th, 2023

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Spicewood Vineyards
1419 Co Rd 409, Spicewood, TX 78669
Feb. 25th, 2023
2:00 PM
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Aaron McDonnell Biography
Singer and guitarist Aaron McDonnell was born and raised in Oregon's rural Willamette Valley. He bought his first guitar, a knock-off Telecaster, when he was 15 years old and proceeded to learn everything from Garth Brooks to Nirvana, however, it was the sound of the older generation that captured his imagination as a songwriter. George Jones, Johnny Cash, and Conway Twitty songs drifted from the radios and turntables of his grandmothers' kitchens and living rooms. This heritage is alive and well in McDonnell's earnest and heartfelt songs, and strong, clear baritone.
Aaron formed the Pop Country band, Gin Betty! shortly after moving to Seattle in 2004 recording two albums and quickly found himself with the following playing top local venues. Personal turmoil within the band lead to its unraveling and the formation of The Grandtours in 2009 (named after the classic George Jones tune "The Grand Tour"). This band explored darker territories lyrically and more complex sonic arrangements all the while staying rooted in a Country Music format and flavor. Again, a local following was formed and two records were recorded, unfortunately, they dissolved due to conflicts within the band in 2011. Undoubtedly the best thing to come out of The Grandtours was the fact that Aaron met his wife-to-be, Dani Michalak who sang back-up in the group. After taking some time off from playing music publicly, Aaron moved towards a solo project named Aaron McDonnell & The Gospel Plow which released an EP in January of 2013. The project was met with positive feedback from local club owners and members of the Seattle Country music scene receiving praise from veterans in the industry.
Since quitting his corporate job of 13 years to pursue music full time in 2013, Aaron has released five solo EPs; "Follow" (2014), "Battle Bend" (2015), "Get Gone" (2016), "Lucky Me" (2017), and Austin Signal: Single Mic Sessions (2018). Each exhibits a progression musically and lyrically but also shows the influence of Aaron & Dani's relocation to Austin, TX. Aaron's most recent single releases with his band The Neon Eagles have received regional radio play as well as extensive play in Ireland and the UK after an acoustic tour in 2019. A full-length album is slated to be released in 2022.
Aaron’s emergence as a full solo artist is the culmination of a tough yet inspiring road that has spanned over a decade, including the formation and dissolution of three bands, recording of six records, and work with several top engineers/producers including; Tom Pfaffle (Nirvana, Black Crowes, Heart), Steve Aguilar (Dave Matthews Band, The Head & The Heart), Phillip Peterson (The Posies, Portugal. The Man), Bob Hoffnar (Hem, Norah Jones, Ryan Adams), John Evans (Billy Joe Shaver, Kevin Fowler, Hayes Carll), and Jonas Wilson (The Black Angels, Ghost Wolves). Not to mention, he hasn’t had to get a real job since 2013. Praise the Lord!
With true purpose, Aaron's songs explore age-old themes of love, heartache, failure, and faith. They are classic in their influence and unpretentious in their delivery. At once familiar and fresh, Aaron McDonnell is both an authentic homage to the sounds of the past, and an exciting example of what is to come.
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