Skip “Little Axe” McDonald: One Man-One Night... One Life In Music
Matthew A. Donahue's latest documentary Skip “Little Axe” McDonald: One Man-One Night….One Life in Music, made with his longtime collaborator Joshua Lightle. The film highlights the life and music of a legendary music icon. Skip “Little Axe” McDonald is a longtime influential musician who was part of the early funk music scene in Dayton, Ohio. He went on to be a session guitar player and arranger for the infamous Sugarhill Records, playing with some of the biggest acts and on some of the biggest hits in rap and hip-hop music. Artists such as Sugarhill Gang (Rappers Delight), Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (The Message) and many other well-known acts such as James Brown, Afrika Bambaataa, The Sequence, Force MDs and many other influential artists.
In the mid 1980s, McDonald began collaborations with legendary producer Adrian Sherwood via his On-U Sound record label. Their work encompasses such legends as Lee Perry, Horace Andy, Bim Sherman, Tackhead, Doug Wimbish (Living Colour), Keith LeBlanc, Bernard Fowler, Sinead O'Connor, Mark Stewart, MAD 45, The Process, African Headcharge and many fantastic artists. Additionally, Skip McDonald working under his moniker Little Axe, broke new ground by blending rap/hip hop and blues music. He has nearly 400 album credits to his name on All Music Guide and continues to practice his art. The performances from this documentary are featured on the live album by Little Axe titled One Man-One Night.
Completion Date:September 1, 2023
Country of Origin:United States
Country of Filming:United States
Matthew A. Donahue's Biography:
Matthew A. Donahue is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, award winning visual artist, musician, writer and educator in the field of Popular Culture.
His 2003 film debut was the documentary The Hines Farm Blues Club, for which he served as co-producer, co-writer and co-director as well as music consultant. This documentary was a collaborative effort with WBGU-PBS television and aired nationally in the United States. For this documentary Donahue along with his co-producer Marlene Harris-Taylor received a Telly Award and the Award for Excellence from Women in Communication. He was also nominated for an Emmy by the Midwest Chapter of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences for this film.
Since that time he has worked on numerous other popular culture documentaries, serving in various capacities as producer, director, writer and music consultant. The documentaries are often related to his research or creative projects in the field of popular culture.
His documentary titled Taking It to the Streets: An Art Car Experience and Car Power: Another Art Car Experience, highlighted the history and influence of art car culture. The films also showcase Donahue's own love of art cars and his own creations the Record Car, Car Power and the Jackson Pollocktik. The films have been featured at art car related events, festivals and exhibitions.
Other films include the fan-based documentary Motorhead Matters. This documentary highlighted the history, cultural influence and fan connection to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal group Motorhead. The film was awarded the Grand Prize Winner of the Motorhead Superfan Contest in North America. Other work includes music videos and live concert video performances related to his music projects.
His documentary The Amsterdam T-Shirt Project was shot on location in the souvenir t-shirt capital of the world, Amsterdam, Netherlands. This documentary highlighted the creators, designers, shop owners and manufacturers of souvenir t-shirts in Amsterdam. It was nominated in the best documentary category for the Citizine Travel Video Alliance as well as the International Short Films category at the OKO International Ethnographic Film Festival.
His latest documentary Skip “Little Axe” McDonald: One Man-One Night….One Life in Music was made with his longtime collaborator Joshua Lightle. The film highlights the life and music of legendary musician Skip “Little Axe” McDonald. McDonald is a longtime influential musician who was part of the early funk music scene in Dayton, Ohio. He went on to be a session guitar player and arranger for the infamous Sugarhill Records, playing with some of the biggest rap acts and on many Gold and Platinum records. Artists such as the Sugarhill Gang (Rappers Delight) Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (The Message). He recorded with other well known acts including James Brown and Afrika Bambaataa (Unity), The Sequence, Force MDs and dozens of others.
In the mid 1980s Skip went on to work with legendary producer Adrian Sherwood and his On-U Sound record label. Together they collaborated on albums with legends by Lee "Scratch" Perry, Horace Andy, African Head Charge, Bim Sherman, New Age Steppers, Tackhead, Doug Wimbish (Living Colour), Keith LeBlanc, Audio Active, Mark Stewart, Dub Syndicate and The Slits. McDonald and Sherwood's collaborations are found throughout the On-U Sound recording catalogue.
Skip also did work with such esteemed artists as Ron Wood (Rolling Stones), Sinead O'Connor, Living Colour, ABC, Lou Rawls, Donna Summer, Harry Beckett, Bernard Fowler, MAD 45, The Process and many other groundbreaking artists. Additionally, working under his moniker Little Axe, he broke ground by crossing over rap/hip hop and blues music. McDonald is credited with nearly 400 album credits on All Music Guide and continues to record til this day.
The performances from this documentary are featured on the live album by Little Axe titled One Man-One Night:
Director Matthew Donahue is also a Teaching Professor for the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. He holds a Masters and PhD in American Culture Studies with a specialization in popular culture from Bowling Green State University and a Masters of Library and Information Science with a specialization in popular culture materials from Kent State University.
His artwork has been featured at art festivals, exhibitions and museums throughout the United States. As a musician, Donahue has worked in a variety of genres including punk, punk funk, heavy metal, trip-hop and other styles. Additionally he has worked on music reissue recordings for Time-Life and the Smithsonian. For nearly a decade Donahue worked as a Supervisor for the Bill Schurk Sound Recordings Archive at Bowling Green State University.
Dr. Donahue has been interviewed on popular culture topics for podcasts, magazines and newspapers around the world. Donahue has presented on popular culture topics at international conferences. He has served as a Media Consultant for the National Endowment of the Humanities, a project scholar for the America's Music Project (sponsored by the National Endowment of the Humanities) and the Tribeca Film Institute and also is a regular judge for the regional Emmys (sponsored by National Academy of Television and Arts and Sciences) for documentary film categories. His published writings focus on various topics on popular culture.
For more information on his creative and academic pursuits, visit his website at www.md1210.com.
Joshua Lightle's Biography:
For nearly two decades, Joshua Lightle has been working on numerous documentaries, short films, and music videos.
In 2005, Lightle began his career at his alma mater, Bowling Green State University, in Bowling Green, Ohio, where he shot and edited educational and promotional videos.
He joined Root Inc. in 2010, where he creates instructional and inspirational films for dozens of Global 2000 organizations — some of which have won both Telly Awards and Brandon Hall Awards.
While at Bowling Green State University, Joshua Lightle and Matthew A. Donahue began collaborating on various short films, music videos and documentaries...often described as “art for art’s sake” projects. Films include Car Power: Another Art Car Experience, Motorhead Matters, The Amsterdam T-Shirt Project and Skip “Little Axe” McDonald: One-Man-One Night…One Life in Music.
In addition to shooting and editing film, Josh has chaired the Tree City Film Festival for nearly a decade. His work has included several award-winning films as judged by a panel of Hollywood professionals. Additionally, Josh was the host of The Story Machine 9000 — a podcast dedicated to storytelling and script writing. Lightle has also authored many other creative projects in a variety of artistic mediums.
Matthew A. Donahue-"I have been lucky to work on a variety of creative projects in different mediums that are based in "popular culture" AKA "everyday life" including music, art, film, the written word, as well as teaching on popular culture related projects as a Teaching Professor for the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University. For my latest documentary project titled Skip “Little Axe” McDonald One Man-One Night….One Life in Music, my longtime collaborator Joshua Lightle and I highlighted the life and music of legend and music icon Skip “Little Axe” McDonald. It was a joy to document his life in music and amazing to be in the presence of such a consummate musician and beautiful spirit for this labor of love project."