Diverse Musical Experience from Folk Roots

A guitar player since he was 10, Mike has attempted many musical styles and various instruments in his constant quest to become a better player. Early influences included The We Five and Peter, Paul and Mary during the first years of plying his fingers to the fretboard, but over time was stongly influenced by James Taylor, Eagles, Jackson Browne, John Prine, Steve Goodman, Gordon Lightfoot and the like.

When the Folk/Rock-Country/Rock gave way to disco and other synth based music (if you can call it that) in the late 70's, Mike got as far away as possible with a deep immersion into bluegrass, which was thick around DC in the 70's. This same period is when Mike took up Banjo as a second instrument.

At the same time Mike found a way to bind together two loves in his life, music and Jesus, by starting to play at church in the worship band. This experience honed his ear to finding ways to blend with the other instruments. Experiences over the years have ranged from learning flexibility from impromptu sessions with charts thrown down moments before services began, to highly stylized playing utilizing sheet music and full orchestration. These experiences developed both strong ear playing as well as the ability to site read the timing for chords off sheet music.

Some where in the 90's, looking for a challenge musically, Mike joined the St. Thomcats big band that was a group of players who came together for the love of the music to play big band and swing music, and would gig around the area. This experience introduced another facet to an already diverse array of musical styles he could play.

Later, in another church setting, the special music was drawn from secular radio tunes, encompassing everything form Motown, Classic Rock, & contemporary Rock to Punk and Rap. As worship leader for one of the services, Mike and his band would learn and perform these songs every week, adding a multitude of different styles to his musical background.

It was also during these years that Mike took up the bass in earnest, and would rotate between guitar and bass and percussion depending upon the need of a particular Sunday.

Since leaving that church and taking a lesser role in worship ministry at the new church home, Mike has been seeking other musical outlets and taken to joining in at bluegrass jams again. Through some kindred spirits Mike has met at some of these jams, he has rediscovered his roots and much of his original repertoire in the folk/folk-rock music from his early years.

Posted by mikelhenry: Posted 19 Sep 2008

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