Michael is a multi-instrumentalist/ vocalist/ songwriter, that has worked with many of Arkansas' top musicians, and from other states as well. His career spans over 4 decades working in numerous styles of music from Rock, Country, Blues, Jazz, and Funk. Venues ranged from Country Clubs to Vegas, large festivals, and in opening acts for bands ranging from Styx to John Anderson, Bellamy Brothers, and several others. Michael was also the lead guitarist for Robin Lee of Atlantic Records (Black Velvet) in her tour support band Summerwine. Two of Michaels former female singers, Gennifer Flowers (yes that one ;o), and Sherri Baker were direct hires from his band to join the Hee Haw Show.
Michael's first true introduction to the Blues way back in the mid 1960's on the front porch of his next door neighbors house, Sidney Moncrief, of Arkansas Razorbacks, and Milwaukee Bucks fame. One of his family members had an electric guitar and taught Michael how to play Tabacco Road, while he and his friends were having a jam session. Needless to say, the hook "gaffed" Michael then and there!
Music has always been a part of the Brown family, so Michael grew up around several types of musical instruments being in the home. From his grand parents, and his dad, as well as two brothers that played were a huge impact on what Michael was to become. His first actual formal music education came from playing trumpet in the sixth grade, then in middle school in the choir. Michael did take a few lessons from a couple of well respected guitar instructors, Bob Lincoln, and Ron Ebbert. Later he would attend the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, for music theory, but to a large degree Michael is self educated through endless hours of study.
One of Michael's favorite print reviews came from his former band-mate and friend, Gil Franklin, of the well known Little Rock, Arkansas band Blues Patrol, which Michael had the honor to work with. Gil spoke of Michael being a quiet and humble musician, but went on to brag about Michael's style and musicianship.
Along with recording and releasing individual singles, Michael is currently working on a new album project he hopes to release in mid- 2015, as well as doing a live tour to support the new upcoming album. It has been over 15 years since Michael has toured, and when questioned about the prospect he is quick to respond with a simple answer. "It will be a top notch crew performing at the right venues, for the right reasons. Professionalism, and showmanship are always Michael's top priorities.
Michael's new album, will be a mix of instrumental Jazz/ Rock/ Fusion, good time Blues with vocals, and if plans hold that are in the works will also feature some of his old band mates, and other special guest.
SO STAY TUNED AND CHECK BACK OFTEN ;O)
Well my history, heavily influenced by the 60's through the 80's, and working in retail music, which allowed me free sample of all that was new. Then also being a minstrel gigolo, with a family to support, idealism, and personal preference, gave way to what gigs were available. What clubs were hiring, what was the top 40 doing at any given time, your particular geographic location, all determined who, and what you were at some points, in any musicians career. I would be remiss if not I mention the late, Mr "DISCOUNT JACK" Gardner. Owner of several record shops in the Little Rock, Arkansas area, was a great mentor to me. He had a love of music, and for musicians as well. when my musical schedule was such that I could not work on his schedule for the stores, (which was numerous times), I would have to take leave. Jack, being the wonderful person he was always told me," Mike, you always have a job here when you get back"! I truly miss the man, few were like him.
I haven't played live in about 20 years. A series of tragic events sent me in a downward spiral, that nearly cost me all that I hold dear. If not for the support and strength of my family, and friends, I would not be writing this testament you are reading now. One of the most memorable moments happened at an outdoor festival, the name of which I forget now, in about the late 80's. It was hot, on stage in beaming summers heat, possibly one beer too many, but still able to maintain with no problem. then I turn to adjust my amp in mid song, and there stood one of my all time favorite artist, Delbert McClinton. He was leaned up against my amp as if he was listening to every nuance of my playing. Needless to say I was in awe, and dismay all at the same time, Delbert just looked at me and smiled, for that moment, I felt truly blessed!
I have always been a fan of Smooth, and Jazz Fusion, coming up from a Rock initial background, (the Grand Funk, Santana, Black Sabbath, Yes, ELP, too many to mention). I first started listening to Billy Cobham, RTF, Lee Ritineour, Wes Montgomery, again, too many to list. Yet at the earliest, was the Blues. I got hooked in the 60's watching a neighbor, and his friends, jamming to Tobacco road, and the guy playing guitar even took the time to show me how to play it. The late 60's and early 70's there were an abundance of free outdoor, concerts in parks, neighborhoods, and schools. It was the greatest time to be alive, and part of the scene!
Over the years I have had many types of equipment, a fan of Gibson Guitars mainly the SG, and 335, but also had many others from Fender like my Tele, wish I knew where she ran off to, Peavey amps, Marshall, Ampeg, so....I was equipment poor for many years! Now, I have found a guitar I truly love playing, her neck was crafted to my very hands, her single Humbucker style pickup, of some Asian origin, that gives that old bluesy sound of the old players, the poor mans guitar sound. It comes not from elite family lineage, she is a First Act ME537, and this guitar inspires me to play again! While I have a Peavey Stereo Chorus 400, I have yet to even take her out on a date. I still have my vintage Boss OD-1, and a couple of other gadgets, but I do not play live at this time. I pretty much live in headphones.