Michael Bowers
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Michael Bowers

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"FOLKFAN Review of Michael Bowers"

Valentine's Day Concert - The Michael Bowers Band with Siobhan Quinn at Moore Music in the House, Rockville Md on February 14, 2004

In an interview in the Gazette a few days ago, Michael Bowers promises a Valentine's Day surprise at this Moore Music in the House concert. He says there will be "romance in the air" and a place for romantic couples to hold hands. Host Scott got an unprecedented numbers of calls about the concert from the article. Was this band hype or what?

As promised, the music is definitely about love and relationships. But there are also contests. Michael invites the audience to nominate:
Worst Love Lyrics written
Best Pick Up Lines
Worse Pick Up Lines
The audience votes and winners win a valentine's day cookie

Then Michael shares a pick-up line of his own, and it is quite a story. At NERFA (Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference), Michael shared a room with Jerry Bresee. NERFA provides live music from 7 pm to 11 AM for several days and music lovers are in major sleep deprivation. Siobhan Quinn was scheduled to meet with Jerry Bresee about an act they were doing, but Jerry was late showing up. Michael found a very tired Siobhan sleeping on the hallway rug near the door to their room (but actually in front of the wrong door). Michael directed to the right door, opened the door, invited her in, and said "have I got a pillow for you"....

Who knows if I got the story quite right. Since this is a serious matter, ask Michael for a perfect version of the story, but I am sure the pickup line he shared with us is "have I got a pillow for you." Paula (the house concert hostess) implies we've only heard Michael's version, saying she won't tell us what Siobhan told her in the kitchen before this show.

And the surprise!
Then in front of all of us, Michael gives Siobhan a ring. He explains that he gave it to her recently. She took it off so he could present it again here. The big surprise is they will be married later this year! (Well, a surprise to me. My husband tells me he is not so surprised - he's been seeing Michael and Siobhan's intense gazing in each other's eyes throughout the concert. My chair was at a slightly different angle and I couldn't see their faces as well.)

In the second half the contests and stage give-aways get racier.
Who has been together the longest Michael asks. The winners, together 34 years, get a bottle of wine and a can of extra creamy ready whip. Michael says the wine is pretty good wine, I recommend you don't mix the two.

Then, who is the newest couple? Oh there's a couple on their first date in the house. The performers did not anticipate a new couple would be quite so new.. The gift they have is another can of whipped cream. Siobhan muses this may not be the right gift. But at least it isn't the extra creamy. Michael quips, well it's OK but they'll have to sign the President's abstinence pledge.

Yes there is also music. The rest of the band includes Focus Inn President Jerry Bresee on guitar and vocals, bass player Maria "Pete" Durgan, Kirby Yarbrough on percussion and vocals, and Wyn Walke on Hawaiian slide guitar (also called a weisenborn). They make a great a wonderful sound, but as usual for me it is the lyrics that go right to my heart.

Some of the songs Michael sings are:
Alive Again
Reluctant Believer - title song of his new CD. Written at a songwriting week at a ranch in Colorado.
This Feeling - from Michael's first CD, written in New Orleans.
Point of No Return
Jackson Marvin Beauregard - and his third reinvention
No Roaming
Never Apologize
Shine On

The music is as promised about love and relationship and being human and about transformation.
Songs to hear again and again.

After an audience poll of the best dump lines or best revenge on being dumped lines, Michael leads us into a song about the other side of love. This is a road song, inspired by a trip in Alaska where there is only one road between towns; Michael was going from one town to another and they are are 40 miles apart as the crow flies but 130 miles apart by road, and there is only one road. Sometimes in relationships it is worse - You Can't Get There from Here.

Selma - Michael heard Jessie Jackson say to take that shame and guilt as a white child growing up in Selma, and do something good with it. In Selma in 1963 there was a population of 29,000 of whom 15,000 were black and fewer than 100 registered black voters. When Michael was 12 they were talking about voting rights. And whites were focused not on what was right, but on their own fears. This is a powerful song.

On My Way - "it's love that holds eternity"

Jerry Bresee sings Riversong, the first song from Jerry's first CD - a powerful song evoking nostalgia for a place where people and jobs "flowed away" and "what this river takes away is never comin back".

Siobhan Quinn shares a song she wrote following the end of a 10 year relationship. The relationship ended 1 ½ years ago, and she finished this song exactly one year ago at Wintersongs in Ashokan, where she coaches other musicians.
This Kind of Love - is about a kind of love you don't give up on. Michael says at one point "she sings and I surrender.." I empathize with this. Gorgeous heartfelt singing and what a beautifully crafted song (and you can hear an MP3 clip of it on her website).

Scott tells us his monthly concert series has been going since 1997 and he's done 65 shows. Jerry Bresee has been here often, and this is Michael Bowers second time. Scott's son made the new stage "backdrop", a wall covering of squares with pink hearts - a great design. Lot's of design efforts in the family - Scott is revamping the Moore Music in the House web site. - FOLKFAN


Discography

Reluctant Believer
Produced by Tom Prasada-Rao
© 2004 Tattoo Angel Music (ASCAP)

Reluctant Believer
Alive Again
No Roaming
Doesn't Have To Be This Way
Jackson Marvin Beauregard
Point Of No Return
Can't Get There
On My Way
Dream Of You
Gravity
Language Of Letting Go
Shine On

All songs written by Michael Bowers except "Dream of You," Music by Michael Bowers, Words by Michael Bowers and Anna Beth Benningfield, and "Gravity," written by Peggy Bertsch © 1999 Side Porch Music (ASCAP)

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Angel on My Shoulder
Produced by Fred Curdts
© 1999 Tattoo Angel Music (ASCAP)

Selma
Angel on My Shoulder
Holes
Tell Me
Power Over Me
I Still Remember the Nights
This Feeling
To the Children
Times We Never Had
Spead Your Wings
Never Apologize

All songs written by Michael Bowers

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Michael Bowers is known as a first-rate songwriter and engaging, talented performer. A Kerrville Folk NewFolk Finalist (2005), he presents music which has been referred to as "folk with an attitude" and "urban campfire music," his lyrics range from the heartfelt to humorous, always with both feet on the ground, but with eyes toward the horizon. The music he writes shows influences of blues, jazz, country, and the best of the singer-songwriter tradition.

For Bowers, the love of music goes way back. "My father was in the military and we traveled around," he explains. "But I'm a child of the U.S., and my gene pool is southern." He grew up steeped in jazz, country and blues. And he remembers as a kid being inspired by the musical tastes of his uncle, who was "sort of a Johnny Cash, Hank Williams player himself. "My uncle gave me a nickel to sing Elvis Presley," says Bowers. "'Hound Dog' was my favorite, but whatever was on the radio, I sang.

For a closer look at what a Michael Bowers Show experience is, check under the "Press" section on the sonicbids menu.

PERFORMANCES AND PROGRAMS
Michael Bowers is based in Northern Virginia and travels the continental United States throughout the year. He holds a valid US passport. He has performed at many types of venues and is equally comfortable on the intimate performance coffeehouse, college or festival stage and campfire circles. Besides being an excellent songwriter, Michael is an expert in non-profit management, board development, has spoken at many conferences and presented songwriting workshops.

TOURS
Michael Bowers is based near Washington D.C. and travels the continental United States throughout the year. He has performed at many styles of venues, and is equally comfortable on the intimate coffeehouse, college or festival stage. He is also an excellent conference speaker and performer. A European tour is planned for spring 2006.

RADIO PLAY
Michael music has been played throughout the United States on folk, college and NPR stations and has been generously received by such diverse radio shows as Alaska’s KNBA and Acoustic Accents, from Oregon --Q104--to Santa Cruz --KZSC, to Texas on the “Eastern and Outlaw for Peace” Radio Shows as well as KEOS-FM; from the eastern seaboard and WWUH (CT) to WJFF (PA/NY) to WETA Washington DC; to the heartland and center of the country with WDCB in Carbondale, IL and Wisconsin Public Radio.

Michael’s music has also been heard internationally on the European Broadcasting Corporation, Belgium Radio, Radio Spazio (Alessandria, Italy), as well as Australia Radio, and AM 1206 in New Zealand.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT MICHAEL BOWERS:

LIVE!

"Michael's music is worth hearing--and should be heard."
Eddie Owen, (former) proprietor of Eddie's Attic, Atlanta, GA.

“The music is as promised about love and relationship and being human and about transformation.
Songs to hear again and again. Selma - Michael heard Jessie Jackson say to take that shame and guilt as a white child growing up in Selma, and do something good with it. In Selma in 1963 there was a population of 29,000 of whom 15,000 were black and fewer than 100 registered black voters. When Michael was 12 they were talking about voting rights. And whites were focused not on what was right, but on their own fears. This is a powerful song!”
FOLKFAN.COM REVIEWER, Feb 14, 2004.

RECORDED/ RADIO REVIEWS
(Regular, internet, Sirius and XM radio throughout the United States and Europe have been serviced with “Reluctant Believer,” Michael Bower’s brand spankin’ new cd)

"The 12 songs on this album are virtually all by Bowers…. a mature writer with something to say. …These are good songs conveying meaningful messages. Overall, Bowers can be proud of a solid piece of work. …Take a listen.”
Victor Heyman, Sing Out! Magazine

"Bluesy, jazzy melodies and lyrics as strong as anybody's on the market. I was extremely impressed. I'm counting on my radio friends to snap to it." Eddie Russell, Country/Eastern and Outlaw for Peace Radio Shows, Columbus Texas

"A big thanks. It is always great to hear a "real words in music" artist."
Laurie Nitschke, Australia Radio

"A great record--Michael has a very special and expressive voice, meaningful lyrics, and an oh so wonderful way of guitar playing. Every song is strong enough to be heard or played (on the air)."
Ray Pieters, Belgium Radio

"Very nice. The songs are thoughtful and not preachy, and nicely presented. Angel on My Shoulder is now in rotation on KEOS."
John Roths, Music Director, KEOS Radio, College Station Texas.