MADMEN & SINNERS Mastermind TIM DONAHUE Announces Harp Guitar Show And Masterclass At Buffalo State College

January 13, 2019, 6 months ago

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MADMEN & SINNERS Mastermind TIM DONAHUE Announces Harp Guitar Show And Masterclass At Buffalo State College

In 2004, fretless guitarist Tim Donahue released the self-titled Madmen & Sinners album featuring Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie and drummer Mike Mangini, who joined Dream Theater in 2010. He has checked in with the following update:

"Very much looking forward to performing at the state-of-the-art Ciminelli Hall at Buffalo State College on March 14th at 7:30pm. My harp guitar in 360-degree surround sound should be awesome! Come celebrate this night of music with me."

Donahue will also conduct a masterclass on March 12th at 12:15 pm at Ciminelli Hall. Tickets are available here.

Four songs from the recording sessions for Madmen & Sinners were never released, but Donahue decided to stream them online in 2016. He contacted BraveWords with an exclusive update:

"I've decided to post the tracks I've hung onto for a while of me, James and Mike. James sang exactly as I had written the pieces, and he sang his heart out. It's just not right to let them sit with no one hearing them, so here they are in their unfinished glory."

The songs in order are:

"Falling Sky" 
"History Repeats" 
"A Heartbeat Away"
"All That Remains"

Tim Donahue: electric harp guitar. bass, vocals, vocal manipulations
James LaBrie: vocals
Mike Mangini: drums

Written & produced by Tim Donahue

BraveWords scribe Carl Begai spoke with Donahue about Madmen & Sinners and the "lost" second album.

In 2000, Niagara native Tim Donahue made a small international splash with Into The Light, a solo record showcasing his skills as a fretless guitarist featuring current Foreigner vocalist Kelly Hansen. A year later he began working on a significantly heavier batch of songs that were unashamedly metal-influenced and came with a wish list of potential singers. During a meeting in Toronto over burgers and beer, I had the honour of hearing what would eventually become the Madmen & Sinners album. Asked who I felt would be the best voice for the material, I suggested Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie, unaware his name was at the top of Donahue’s list. Contact was made, plans were hatched, and in 2004 the duo released the Madmen & Sinners debut, an album unique to their respective careers. It was new territory for both Donahue and LaBrie, and ground they (sadly) haven’t returned to since.

“I don’t play the six-string fretless at all anymore unless I’m asked, like for the tracks on Nozomi Itani’s album (Station To Station from 2012). That was the first time I picked up the fretless in many years. Other than that I play the fretless harp guitar. I hate to say it, but the harp guitar has so much going on that when I pick up the six-string I yawn (laughs). I don’t mean that as anything against traditional guitars but the harp guitar kicks my ass and takes me to places I’ve never been.”

Although it’s been over 10 years since the release of Madmen & Sinners, the record still holds a special place in Donahue’s heart.

“I love the heaviness of the tunes. There are a lot of heavy bands out there and I’m certainly not the heaviest guitarist, but the songs and the actual writing, I think that’s why the music hits you in the heart even though some of the songs are really heavy.”

“You should hear the stuff I wrote after that,” he continues. “I could have released the second album through EMI but the harp guitar kind of called me and took me away. There is a second Madmen album written and I like it better than the first one. I love the first album; I don’t like the way the recording sounds but I love the music. The second album is deeper but… maybe in another life.”

LaBrie’s participation on a second Madmen & Sinners album was never written in stone, but there is unreleased material with his vocals on them. Four tracks to be exact, albeit incomplete.

“I have these extra tracks with James singing on them,” Donahue confirms. “He really wanted to do them and I said that if we had enough time after we finished the first album, we would. We were in the studio and he really pushed to do those other four tracks.”

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