Best Local Acoustic Performer - 2001
The resemblance to Bob Dylan is probably not entirely coincidental. A Palm Beach resident since 1995, MacDonald moved here to care for his aging parents and, it would seem, the small South Florida folk community. MacDonald paid his dues as a journalist, law student, conscientious objector, and traveling folksinger before becoming a major player in the Greenwich Village Fast Folk movement in the '80s and '90s. Today MacDonald is a regular at Palm Beach clubs such as Paddy Mac's and the Coffee Gallery Café, where he often invites local talent to join him on-stage. On a recent night at the CG, he looked as if he belonged, unfazed by passing cars, boisterous teenagers, bikers, and the noisy cover band two doors down. Decked out in sandals, Hawaiian shirt, and shorts, he sang and played his heart out using just "six strings and a hole big and round" (which is also the title of a MacDonald song). The political messages still inhabit his songs, but MacDonald's latest album, 1999's Into the Blue, tempers an angry attitude with songs about the weather, marriage, and nature. In other words he's adapted well to Florida.