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The Doobie Brothers to Release Their First Album with Michael McDonald in 44 Years as They Reunite on Tour

The "Listen to the Music" band reunited in 2019 for their 50th anniversary tour, which has continued into its third year of touring

<p>Kevin Winter/Getty</p> Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald, John McFee and Patrick Simmons of the Doobie Brothers in Los Angeles in April 2015

Kevin Winter/Getty

Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald, John McFee and Patrick Simmons of the Doobie Brothers in Los Angeles in April 2015

Fans of The Doobie Brothers don’t just have 2024 tour dates to look forward to.

The legendary rockers reunited with their core lineup in 2019 for a 50th anniversary tour that launched in 2021 after being delayed due to the pandemic, and have remained out on the road ever since. Having recently announced a massive string of 2024 dates, the group now featuring co-founders Tom Johnston and Pat Simmons, as well as longtime members Michael McDonald and John McFee, will also release a new album — marking their first with McDonald, 72, in 44 years.

Simmons, 75, and Johnston, 75, revealed their plans to release their 16th studio album and follow-up to 2021's Liberté in an interview with Billboard.

<p>Steve Jennings/Getty</p> Patrick Simmons and Tom Johnston of The Doobie Brothers performing on their 50th Anniversary Tour in Wheatland, California in October 2021

Steve Jennings/Getty

Patrick Simmons and Tom Johnston of The Doobie Brothers performing on their 50th Anniversary Tour in Wheatland, California in October 2021

Related: The Doobie Brothers Announce 38-City Tour Set to Kick Off in June

The two guitarists/vocalists expressed excitement about making new music with the former Steely Dan member, who was in The Doobie Brothers from 1975 to 1982 before officially rejoining nearly four decades later for the 50th anniversary tour.

“It’s very exciting,” Simmons told the outlet. “At one point I said, ‘Hey, we’re doing all these dates ... As long as we’re doing this it would make sense to do a record. I think people would really get a kick out of that.'”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famers also spoke about how fulfilling it’s been to join forces in the studio with the keyboardist after so long, as he last appeared on 1980’s One Step Closer and hadn’t been on an LP with Johnston since 1975’s Takin’ It to the Streets. “[Johnston and McDonald] never really got a chance to interact in this way before, so it makes me happy to see that happening,” Simmons shared. “It’s more than the sum of our parts, I think.”

<p>Scott Dudelson/Getty</p> Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston and John McFee of The Doobie Brothers performing in Los Angeles in October 2017

Scott Dudelson/Getty

Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston and John McFee of The Doobie Brothers performing in Los Angeles in October 2017

Although a title hasn't been announced and there’s no official release date, Simmons confirmed that “the songs are done” and revealed that he feels as though the project is about halfway towards completion.

Details are slim regarding what fans can expect from the new tracks, although there is at least one collaboration in the works. Billboard reports that a song called “Walk This Road” features lead vocals by McDonald and Johnston, as well as a guest performance by R&B/soul legend Mavis Staples.

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It’s unclear if the “Listen to the Music” band will play new material out on the road, but they’ll be setting out on a 38-date North American tour later this year. The group will be playing shows in a handful of cities that they missed in recent years on their trek from June 15 until Aug. 30.

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty for The Recording Academy Michael McDonald performing at MusiCares Person of the Year event in Los Angeles in February 2023
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty for The Recording Academy Michael McDonald performing at MusiCares Person of the Year event in Los Angeles in February 2023

Related: Steely Dan Keyboardist Jim Beard Dead at 63

In addition to the live shows and forthcoming new music, McDonald will also soon release a memoir. Set for release on May 21, the book is titled What a Fool Believes and named for The Doobie Brothers’ Grammy-winning song.

The legendary songwriter collaborated on the memoir with actor Paul Reiser, and the two opened up about their collaboration to PEOPLE when the cover art was revealed late last year.

“The thing that was the most daunting was wondering if there ever even was a story there,” McDonald said. “Because my story really, I've always felt, existed more in the people I worked with. That was really basically my story. It wasn't really so much about me as my good fortune to work with a lot of different people.”

He continued, “But as we kind of moved along, the story emerged for me, and I think for the first time, I understood my own story a little better on a more personal level.”

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