Mark Robertson

Mark Robertson

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Michael McDonald returns to The Doobie Brothers for their new album

Michael McDonald will be part of the next Doobie Brothers album, which the band is "very close to finishing up" for release later this year according to a social media post by the band's Patrick Simmons.

The follow-up to 2022's "Liberte" will be McDonald's first as a band member since "One Step Closer" in 1980, although he did sing backing vocals on the Doobies' 2014 album "Southbound." In the post Simmons confirmed that "Liberte" producer John Shanks is also on board for this project, and that he, McDonald, co-founder Tom Johnston and John McFee "have composed a great bunch of songs that we’re really proud of...and in my humble opinion it's turning out to be some of the best music we've ever made together."

In a recent interview Simmons told us that he's very excited about the way the new songs sound:

"There's some killer -- for me, anyway -- really great songs on the record. There's some kind of, probably, some predictable kind of things, maybe, in terms of what people would want to hear from us. But there's just these, some ferocious tracks that are just great, live kind of songs."

Simmons told Billboard that Mavis Staples makes a guest appearance on one track, the gospel-flavored "Walk This Road," that also includes lead vocals by both McDonald and Johnston. 

McDonald joined the Doobies in 1975, after a stint in Steely Dan. He contributed hits such as "Takin' It to the Streets," "It Keeps You Runnin'," "You Belong to Me" (co-written with Carly Simon), "What a Fool Believes" (co-written with Kenny Loggins), "Minute By Minute" and "Real Love." He rejoined the band in 2019 for a 50th anniversary tour that was postponed to 2021 by the pandemic.

This will be the Doobies first album with McDonald, Simmons and Johnston on board since "Takin' It to the Streets" in 1975. The three were nominated for the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2023.

In addition to the album, McDonald is publishing "What a Fool Believes: A Memoir," co-written with Paul Reiser, on May 21.

The Last Waltz 40 Tour - Atlanta, Georgia

Photo: Rick Diamond / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

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