Local Musician Check-in: Tucker MacDonald

Posted on July 16, 2014 by


One evening in early June, musicians and onlookers gathered in the Library at Blenheim Vineyards for a special show featuring Portland trio Joseph. Before the sister trio took the spotlight, local musician Tucker MacDonald set the tone of the evening with crooning vocals, subdued, rhythmic drums, and the fullness of strings. A magical night of many more to come for this musician.

With conviction, strength, and intellect, the skillful partnership of Tucker’s voice and guitar besots listeners. His captivating voice resonates through the core, transcending you to a thought-provoking stratosphere, while the band behind him, known as dillingham, is performing a score, which in a beautifully ironic way, keeps you grounded.

Be on the lookout for upcoming shows and dillingham’s debut album!

Tucker MacDonald

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? If not Cville, what brought you here?

Born in California and bounced around the West Coast as a kid, landed in Charlottesville when I was 13.

What are some of your favorite local spots: to be creative? to catch live music? to grab a drink? to eat?

A hike and swim at Sugar Hollow is a go to.

The C & O for drinks and tunes is generally best; I was in there once and a barbershop quartet eating dinner together in the basement and they broke out in a few songs together, it was fabulous.

To eat, the dukbokki at The Korean House.

Any other Cville favorites?

Summertime UVA campus bike rides.

What local musician(s) you are most excited about?

Chris Dammann’s 3.5.7 ensemble gets me.

[Catch the local ensemble this Friday for their record release show at The Haven. // Tickets »]

What local music projects are you/have you been involved in?


When and why did you start playing music/singing? What instruments do you play?

I started playing Texas-style fiddle when I was 6 and added a guitar and other strings here and there.

Most influential artist as a child? Teen? Adult?

As a kid definitely Mark O’Connor. Teens, probably Ennio Morricone. Adult? I’m no adult yet, so… Art Tatum.

When did you write your first song? What was it about?

I think I was 8, it was a fiddle tune that I recorded onto a cassette that I still have somewhere. It was pretty busy.

What influences your songwriting?

Truth. Every element of a song, from vocals or not to instrumentation conveys a meaning in the song so I like to try to write only what I hear, if it’s supposed to be just a voice and a guitar, I keep it that way.

What aspects of life excite you and stir your affections, fuel your passions?

The sea. There’s something in salty air that quiets my mind and shakes my inner being. Also, seeing people content living simple way of life; I love going new places (local or distant) and experiencing the different ways people go about living; it’s pleasing to see people content.

When did you play your first gig? What emotions and thoughts ran through your head after finishing?

I played in a band called The Band of Boys when I was 12 with my buddies in Tacoma, WA and our first gig was a Veteran’s Day show at the Liberty Theater; it was nice being recognized for something we’d worked pretty dang hard at (or so we thought).

Do you get pumped or nervous pre-show?

My kicks are pumped up.

What does a day in the life of a modern-day songwriter look like from your perspective?

Making time to be creative, be silent, and stick with it; nothing finishes itself.

What do you want people to take from hearing your music? As a fan, what do you also want people to take from experiencing your live show?

That they might be prodded to keep chasing the dreams and fears in life.

What does the not-so-distant future hold for you and dillingham?

Finishing the first record and getting it in peoples’ hands. It’s been a long time coming and we’re excited to share.

Lastly… Describe yourself in 10 words or less.