Michael Koppy
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Michael Koppy

Band Americana Acoustic

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Music

The best kept secret in music

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Discography

"Red River Redux"
LP released April, 2006
Radio play in the South, San Francisco, and Los Angeles for "One Great Mornin' (The South's Gonna Rise Again)"

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Like the music he plays, Michael Koppy is himself a mix of down-home integrity and big-city hustle. Raised in Tallahassee, Florida, he was expelled from high school, despite being a finalist for a National Merit Scholarship. In 1967, he ran away from home, hitch-hiking to San Francisco just in time for the Summer of Love. That was the first of what would be nine trips he took across the country by thumb and boxcar ("Riding the rails isn't really all that romantic or comfortable," he reports wryly.)

Traveling with little more than a guitar and a bag of clothes, he worked as a laborer in a gunpowder factory, Broadway stagehand, elevator operator, carnival barker, union organizer, small-town newspaper editor, construction worker, strip-show spotlight operator, and many other odd jobs. Finally settling in San Francisco, Michael boot-strapped his way into the entertainment industry, eventually producing and directing stage musicals, television, and concerts (Buck Owens, the Blues Project, Riders in the Sky), and other events.

Strangely, the one career Michael did not pursue was that of performer. Indeed, close friends didn't even know he owned a guitar, much less that he could play one. For twenty-five years, the only way to hear his music would be to walk by his front porch on the right evening, where you might catch him playing some impressive riffs while relaxing with a cold beer.

But in retrospect, perhaps it's not so odd that Michael never thought about performing in public. His repertoire, after all, was a grab-bag of old cowboy songs he'd changed to his liking, blues he'd learned from Tallahassee street musicians, ballads he'd modified, his own interpretations of traditional tunes, and bastardized pop ditties he'd heard so long ago he'd forgotten where – along with idiosyncratic originals. Who'd be interested in this mélange of organic mash-ups?

Lots of people, as it turned out. On his way home from work one evening in 2001, he dropped into a bar where an open mic night was in progress. "You'd think I'd at least know what an 'open mic night' was," Michael says, "but I honestly didn't." It was only after the barmaid explained the concept – and then spent six weeks encouraging him – that he finally stepped on stage. The burst of applause when he finished proved there was an audience hungry for his refreshing "front porch" style of music.

Within weeks Michael was being invited to perform around San Francisco, with regular gigs and a growing reputation. He was sometimes sandwiched between rock bands, but his unique style and songs charmed even these audiences. A short time later Los Angeles producer Garrett Soden heard Michael at the Hotel Utah Saloon, and approached him after the show with an offer to make a record. Michael's debut album, "Red River Redux," was released in the spring of 2006.