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Platinum: A Tribute to Miranda Lambert

Platinum: A Tribute to Miranda Lambert

Platinum: A Tribute to Miranda Lambert

by Mike Ironside

Starring Tri-State area singer Laura McDonald in the role of Miranda Lambert, Platinum is not only a tribute to the popular country music singer but a complete 90-minute re-creation Lambert’s Platinum Tour concert with all the hit songs, costumes, and full production of a live Miranda show. 

McDonald is known for her work as a vocalist over more than 20 years in Tri-State area bands, including Laura & The Longhairs, Crystal Leather, and Blue & Evol. Taking on a tribute act seems like a new direction for the veteran singer so 365ink endeavored to learn more about how it came about.

“Honestly, I met with Scott Thomas and Buzz Entertainment Group and I really wanted him to maybe put me on a mini-tour doing original music with my blues-rock group,” McDonald explained. “And he looked at me and he said, ‘You’re Miranda Lambert. I need pictures in two days. And this gonna be huge. Will you do it?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it.’ And that’s exactly how it went, just like that.”

“I always liked Miranda Lambert and I have sung her music and always appreciated that she was country but she still had a rock edge,” continued McDonald, “so I really liked singing her music. But I didn’t anticipate doing a tribute act to her. Once again, Scott Thomas, that was his brainchild. I thought about it and thought, ‘Yeah, that could be really cool.’ I’m a rocker at heart but so is Miranda. We kind of have the same look and I thought, ‘Yeah, this could work.’”

Eager to begin putting the project together, McDonald first looked to Dubuque area musicians for her backing band but most players she had worked with were already busy in multiple projects or playing in addition to “regular” jobs that would not allow them to practice and tour extensively.

McDonald contacted Robbie Bahr, a guitarist she’d worked with in the past whom is probably best known for his band Meet The Press, a popular Quad Cities area band since the 1980s. The team was able to assemble a top-notch backing band including Bahr (lead guitar, vocals), Mike Pickney (rhythm guitar, vocals), Eddie Fuentes (bass guitar), Bill Braught (drums), Steve Law (backing vocals), Chuck Thomson (steel guitar) and special guest vocalist and guitarist Matt McPherson from 50 Pound Rooster.

The band has been rehearsing regularly to hone every aspect of the music and production in preparation for the Ohnward show, which will be the debut of the tribute act. Thomas and Buzz Entertainment will use the show to shoot video used in promoting the act to other potential venues for 2016 dates. “It’s a great venue,” stated McDonald. “It’s a 900-seat venue – beautiful theater and the sound and everything is amazing there.”

McDonald admits it’s a challenge to recreate not just the vocal style of Miranda but also her look, her accent, mannerisms and even her between-song patter. “That’s been a work in progress,” she said, laughing, “but I’m having a lot of fun doing it. I really am trying to keep it as authentic as I possibly can. I’ve really been studying her for months. We’re trying to keep true to her set list of her actual Platinum Tour that she’s doing, her looks, the production areas of it.”

“I think (fans are) going to have a lot of fun and I think they’re going to be surprised,” she added. “They’re going to enjoy it no matter what and they’re going to be surprised that I have another side to me.”

Watch365’s live music listing for your next chance to catch Platinum live!