By Jamie Rieger
It has been a quarter-century since Michael Charles moved to the United States from Australia to pursue his career as a Blues musician, a move he said started with a tour at the request of Buddy Guy’s management.
It was long before that, though, that he embarked on his lifelong journey of making music.
He picked up his first guitar at five years old and his dad was his first instructor, teaching him the basic chords.
“As I got a bit older, I got very involved with what I was listening to on the radio. Eric Clapton, Presley were influences and once I got into my teens, CCR. Those influences do get into your blood. And really, all of these guys were influenced by the Blues,” said Charles.
“As I started getting into my career, I was more mainstream because I was trying to fit into the market,” said the six-time Grammy elected musician.
Charles has been based out of the United States for the past 24-25 years and said the move was completely coincidental.
“I didn’t come to North America to move, I came here to tour and that tour just didn’t end,” he said.
This year, Charles is releasing a 30-year anthology of his work, but said it was not just his most popular songs that were included in it.
“It would have been so easy to just put together bits and pieces of my most popular songs. But, I picked songs that never made it onto the albums,” said Charles. “When I was working on putting this together, I would listen to those songs and go, ‘why didn’t this one make it? What was I thinking’?”
Charles said that over the past decade he has noticed a trend of younger listeners for Blues music.
“There is more Blues/Rock out there again. When I moved to the States, I was told there was too much Blues and not enough Rock or there was too much Rock and not enough Blues. It was hard to fit into either. There was the merged, blended Country/Blues and the way I see it, music is all united. You listen to guys like Keith Urban and you can hear the Blues influence.
Michael Charles, who is currently touring on his Three Hundred Sixty Tour, will be performing at Blues at the Bow on Oct. 4. Tickets are still available online at http://www.bluesatthebow.com.