MABOU: A familiar face in the local music scene has new songs and videos to share, with plans to release an LP.
After touring nationally and releasing eight albums in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Mabou musician Aaron MacDonald took a step back about five years ago to raise his young children.
“Then I just played locally, I didn’t really record much music over the last five or six years,” he told The Reporter. “When COVID first hit, I had a little more time to write and I started actually recording again and now I’m ready to get some of it out there.”
MacDonald explained that before his decision to step back, he hung around the East Coast Music scene for a long time.
Over the years, MacDonald has released the albums: SongADay One; Live at the Planet; New Title (14); Green Apples, Sardines, and Wine; Live at the Orient Lounge; The Cedar Sessions; John Prine’s Advice; and Two Times.
Although he stopped touring nationally, MacDonald said he continued to play and write songs, including a Maritime Christmas tour in 2019.
“I have four kids, so my winter months are quite busy,” he said. “I play two to four shows a week from May to October every year; mostly in and around Cape Breton and Nova Scotia. Before that, I toured Canada constantly. Once I had kids, I held off touring nationally.”
When the pandemic started, most of his gigs were cancelled – with the exception of a few small, performances – then MacDonald started writing.
“All of a sudden, I look and I probably have like 60 songs I’ve never recorded,” he recounted. “I just had this music that I wanted to get out, and I was just tired of sitting on it for all these years.”
About eight months ago, his children convinced him to start posting his songs on Facebook.
“So I kind of started doing it, and some of them are getting a little traction so I started performing every Sunday online, from a little cabin I have above my house,” he recalled. “Then that was gaining traction so I started writing these two songs and recording some proper versions of them.”
MacDonald’s first single/video of 2021, “Gonna Get There” will be released this week. His next song “Exactly,” will be come out later this spring.
After he is able to write and record a few more songs (and release accompanying videos), MacDonald said the long-term goal is to release an album.
“It’s almost like the days of old where there were just singles released,” he said. “I’m going to do some singles every two months or so for the next little bit. So when I have enough to amalgamate them all into an album, I’ll probably do that, once I get four or five out there. Then I’ll have another five or six on top of that, then I’ll put them all together to make an album, maybe before the end of the year.”
Acknowledging that his sound has changed over the years, MacDonald sees his music as more Roots and Country oriented these days.
“I was raised on Country Music,” he stated. “Years ago, I think my music was maybe a little more rock-ended when I had my full band and we were touring. Now it’s definitely more sort of country-rock, I guess I’d call it. I’ve always called it Roots Music because it has roots in country, but it also has roots in blues. But I grew up in Mabou, so I have that east coast Celtic thing in there as well. I’m kind of a mixed bag.”
After playing smaller gigs around Cape Breton during the pandemic, MacDonald is waiting to see what 2021 will bring.
“I’m waiting for venues to open up and allow us to play again in front of people,” he said. “A lot of them now are sort of holding up because you can’t quite, even after minimal capacity, it’s not quite enough to support some musicians.”
MacDonald added his music is available for download on all major digital music platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, or Amazon. His videos can found on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram.