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Kevin McDonough

Rhythm Guitar and Vocals

Chicago IL

He started playing at age 15 as a sophomore in High School. Inspired by his older brother Chris who played, and numerous great singer songwriters including Bob Dylan, Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, numerous folk singers and classic rock legends like Rush, Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Pink Floyd and others. In many ways, the guitar was his outlet for creative expression.  And, of course, he replies: “I thought it would be a great way to “impress the ladies!” .

When talking about his instruments he clearly states that he has a strong preference for Gibson acoustic and electric guitars, along with the signature tone of the Fender-Telecaster. 

The reason why he chose these instruments is because the Gibson acoustics have a great balanced sound with an unmatched low end.  As a rhythm guitar player, that he is, the low end is absolutely essential and Gibson is second to none for tremendous warmth and resonance.

His two Gibson acoustics include a J-45 and a Gospel.  The J-45 is known as the “workhorse”, so the affinity might be more than coincidental.

Jim Croce – Time in a Bottle was Kevin’s first tune he learned. The classic finger-pick style song that laments the rapid passing of time and the eternal longing of trying to hold onto those precious fleeting moments with those we hold most dear.


When asking about if he got influenced by old records and tapes he directly said: Absolutely!  The entire Bob Dylan catalogue, and especially the albums

from 1962 to 1975 marked him.  Anything written by Jim Croce, James Taylor and Cat Stevens.  The entire Rush and Led Zeppelin catalogues.  Modern influences include David Gray, The Decemberists, Death Cab for Cutie, The Civil Wars, NeedtoBreathe, Kings of Leon, The Killers, The Jayhawks, Ryan Adams, Patty Griffin, Ray LaMontagne, Michael McDermott, U2, REM, Smashing Pumpkins, Counting Crows and Pearl Jam. He confirms how he loves great melodies and insightful lyrics, so that leaves a wide open field


Kevin’s Dad’s love of music is the single greatest musical inspiration in his life.  While his parents didn’t play instruments, they always had music in the house and in the car, particularly on road trips.  This, more than anything, is where he learned about the significance of melody and how to tell a story in song.

Kevin points out that it’s a great joy that certain songs can connect with me on many different levels.  In addition, he continues to find it amazing how a song can frame a particular period of time in your life, and the songs of many of those influences he has noted above bring me directly back to fond memories of his youth.  Kevin’s older brother Chris played guitar and was also an inspiration for him to learn to play guitar.

Kevin is a man with many diversion like reading books on history, philosophy and theology.  Travelling domestically and internationally is a big part of his life,too.  “I am inspired by the human condition, including our aspirations and achievements, as well as our flaws and fallen nature.  I am also greatly inspired by “what’s beyond.”

Kevin founded Leonum with James Potter around 2013/2014 and quickly added Jay, Hannah, Leyla.  Sean is their most recent addition.  James and Kevin have known each other for over a decade.  He was one of the first managers of Kevin’s prior band, Seven Day Run.

About the evolution of his music he states that when they started Leonum, they made a conscious effort to focus on balance and dynamics with an intentional emphasis on celebrating the unique subtleties of melody and rhythm.

When asking Kevin which advice he could give to people who want to form their own band, he directly assures: “Chemistry is key.  As much as possible, try to find fellow musicians with whom you genuinely enjoy being around. For me, it’s always been about the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, and if one part is an obvious poor fit, that can kill the chemistry.  Another point, try to let everyone shine.  Each member brings their own unique contribution; try to celebrate that in each song and in each performance.”

Gibson J-45

Gibson Gospel

Previous Projects:

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