Chicago-based jazz vocalist Erin McDougald said she was first introduced to jazz riding around with her grandfather in his old blue Pontiac listening to the radio when she was growing up in Delaware.
McDougald said she and her grandfather would listen to Julie London, Ray Charles and others on the old AM radio in his car. “My grandfather loved jazz, it was a big part of him,” she said. “He was a railroad man that had a limited education who loved jazz.”
McDougald is scheduled to perform with her Chicago quartet at Notes night club inside Copious restaurant at 520 S. High St. Saturday night. She said it has been 10 years since she last performed in the area.
She said when growing up on Timberlake Drive off of State Route 315 in Liberty Township there were more cows than houses. She attended St. Mary’s grade school in Delaware and graduated from Bishop Watterson High School in Columbus.
McDougald said it was a 15 minute drive from her home to get to downtown Delaware. “Friends would say you live so far away,” she said. “They would pack snacks for the ride because my house was so far away.”
She said she remembers Delaware as a “1950s kind of town.”
“It was quaint,” she said. “I remember my mom saying that it was stuck in the ’50s.”
McDougald said Pat’s Records, now Endangered Species: The Last Record Store On Earth, on West Winter Street in Delaware sold her the first album she made, Blue Prelude, in 2000. She said since then she has recorded three more albums, harassed Clint Eastwood about his views on politics and autographed one of her CDs for Bob Dylan at his request.
McDougald moved away from Delaware 20 years ago hoping to perform on Broadway. While attending the University of Cincinnati she was told she wasn’t cut out for it.
“I was told that I didn’t have the look or the star power to be on Broadway,” she said. “I wasn’t attractive enough, but I did have the (vocal) range.”
She left the University of Cincinnati to attend Columbia College Chicago, where she graduated in 2000.
While in Chicago she found herself gravitating toward jazz. “Jazz is a big part of the Chicago life style,” she said. “Millions of people love jazz.”
McDougald said she has collaborated with many of the icons of jazz such as Ira Sullivan, Nicholas Payton, Dave Liebman, and seven time Grammy winning drummer Paul Wertico.
While in New York she work with jazz legend Tony Bennett’s son Dae on one of her album’s. “Dae said, ‘I didn’t expect that voice from you. You just sound so grown up and look so young,’” McDougald said. “He said, ‘My dad needs to hear this.’”
“My music certainly is not limited to songs of the 20s or standards or even Bebop,” she said. “I take great pleasure in establishing a jazz treatment of songs completely outside of the genre.”
Advanced tickets are available at www.copiouscolumbus.com for McDougald’s concert.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.