Sublime Pop Songwriting
In his 40-plus years in the music business, guitarist and songwriter Michael Johnson has quietly compiled an impressive catalog as performer and songwriter. He has shared the stage and studio with the likes of John Denver, Leo Kottke and Peter Yarrow, and his songwriting credits include two #1 Country hits, a #1 Pop hit and a #1 R&B song. Johnson has established himself as a craftsman of gentle, virtuosic music, replete with thoughtful lyrics and unpretentiously dazzling guitar playing.
This Denver native got his start in music in a very different way. At age 13, he contracted a severe case of pneumonia, which kept him bedridden for several months. Stuck in bed next to his brother (who had a broken leg), the two of them learned the guitar at the same time, their mutual exploration of the instrument proving to be a great catalyst. By the time they recuperated, they got booked for their first gig, and Michael knew he had found his calling.
A talent contest win cut Johnson’s collegiate career short, and he started touring clubs extensively. He took a break from this to study with guitar master Graciano Tarrago in Barcelona, and even spent a year acting in an off-Broadway play. Upon his return to the music scene, he adopted a jazzy, folk feel and created some of his most enduring music, including “Bluer Than Blue”.
Johnson spent nearly 20 years living in Minneapolis, and his annual Christmas shows at the Guthrie Theater became the stuff of legend. Now residing in Nashville where he is a busy songwriter, Johnson returns to Minneapolis only occasionally for special, intimate shows.
Facts About The Artist
- an American pop, country and folk singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is best known for his 1978 hit song “Bluer Than Blue”. To date, he has charted four hits on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and nine more on the Hot Country Songs charts, including two Number One country hits in 1986’s “Give Me Wings” and “The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder”. He also co-wrote “Cain’s Blood”, the debut single of 1990s country group 4 Runner.
- In August 2007, Johnson underwent successful quadruple bypass heart surgery. A charitable organization, “Friends of Michael Johnson,” was temporarily set up to help defray medical expenses.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“A dazzling guitarist and wonderfully expressive singer. No two shows are alike.” -Billboard Magazine
“The warmth of his voice, guitar and the club was embracing on a very cold Tuesday night.” - Jon Bream, Minneapolis StarTribune. Read the full article here