Michael Pickett

Michael Pickett

BandFolkAcoustic

Compelling, brilliant, unique! An eclectic and captivating 'Roots' songwriter a la Delta Blues, Country, Americana, Folk, delivered with muscular guitar riffs, virtuoso award winning harmonica, a voice dripping with sly insights. Awards. Standing ovations. A must see!!!" B.Pulford

Biography

At the age of four he sang for his grandmother who tossed him nickels and dimes while she sat at the kitchen table sipping her whiskey-laced tea. His mother bought him a harmonica when he was about 13. Shortly after that he saw Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee on tv and he was hooked for life. The soul of this timeless genre is deeply rooted in his psyche and he continues to nurture this passion.

In the 70s, 80s, and 90s he established himself as a musically ground-breaking, electrifying singer/songwriter/harmonica player, leading seminal bands Whiskey Howl, Wooden Teeth, and the Michael Pickett Band. Musically profound, they pushed the envelope for Blues and funky Roots music. He provided the direction for all three projects and surrounded himself with some of the top musicians in the country.

Whiskey Howl was signed by Warner Bros. in '72. The band toured coast to coast, from the late 60s to the early 80s, venturing into New York City to perform at The Village Gate and disbanded in '81 following their high profile reunion gig at the El Mocambo in Toronto. A recording of that night has been released on CD - 'Whiskey Howl Big Band / Live at the El Mocambo'.

Wooden Teeth ('76-'79) was a group of diverse musical talents coming together to create a raw, exciting, extremely tight progressive Blues/Funk sound covering material from Little Feat to Tower of Power as well as several excellent originals and occasionally introducing the odd Jazz/Fusion instrumental. The band was contemporary, knocking out a class of rocking, infectious Soul that was tight enough to be called professional and improvisational enough to take it to the edge. The roster turned over until the core band took root with Pickett (vocals/harp), John Tilden (guitar), Omar Tunnoch (bass), and Vito Rezza (drums). One of the highlights of this band was opening for Papa John Creach, and backing up Big Mama Thornton, and John Lee Hooker at Massey Hall. (Hooker was late to arrive, trouble with a flight or something, and Michael met him for the first time on stage that night.)

Michael Pickett Band ('81-'02) clearly documented Pickett's profound musical journey and his constant search for the 'truth' in the song, be it his own or a cover. The core band consisted of vocal/harp (Pickett), bass (Steve Chadwick), guitar (notably Shawn Kellerman), and drums (often Gary Craig). It was a rotating roster of exemplary musicians occasionally ballooning into a big band with keys, backup singers, and horns. Pickett was the one constant - the source of inspiration, imagination, and fearlessness. He worked without a net which meant no set list. He was all about establishing a groove and seeing where it would take him... and the band. Pickett often layered his harmonica into the background. As a result, his arrangements were unique and highlighted the genius in his songwriting.

1998 was a banner year when he released his long anticipated debut CD Blues Money. This all original recording was nominated for a JUNO and received the Jazz Report and Real Blues awards for ‘Blues Album of the Year’. Michael was also presented with the coveted Maple Blues ‘Blues With A Feeling Award’ in recognition of his passion and lifetime commitment to the Blues.

2000 saw the release of his second CD Conversation With The Blues which earned him another JUNO nomination and won the Canadian Indie Music Award for ‘Blues Album of the Year’. This extraordinary recording, described by Billboard as “transcend[ing] the urban Blues idiom”, is an eclectic mix of ten original compositions comprised of Blues, R&B, Soul, Jazz, Delta, and Gospel.

PICKETT RE-INVENTS HIMSELF

It’s worth mentioning here that Pickett laid down an acoustic resophonic guitar track on Blues Money... he hadn't taken his guitar out of the box for over 20 years. He laid down another one for Conversation With The Blues. His focus was still on the band but he found himself steadily being drawn back into the realm of acoustic Blues which was how it all began for him when that 13 year old discovered Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. In 2001, he immersed himself in the guitar and was soon practicing up to 14 hours a day. With focus and diligence, this musical transition transformed him into a formidable guitarist on the six-string, twelve-string, and National Steel-Bodied Duolian. In the fall of 2002, the metamorphosis was complete. Leaving the band behind, he re-emerged revealing yet another layer of his seemingly endless reservoir of musical talents.

With exceptional award winning rack harmonica skills and powerful vocals, he delivers charismatic, compelling, and passionate performances that are charged with electricity and filled with authenticity and a unique style. He puts his own spin on obscure tunes of legendary icons such as Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Mississippi John Hurt, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and showcases his own potently eclectic material. This songwriter has evolved into

Lyrics

World In An Uproar

Written By: Michael Pickett/Sweetest Gal Music/SOCAN

now the whole world’s in an uproar
what in the world are we gonna do
the whole world’s in an uproar people
what in the world are we gonna do
death’s flyin’ in the air & the fire balls burnin’
it’s comin’ down to me and you

you know that the president up in the white house
ain’t that a cryin’ shame
the president's up in the white house
ain’t that a cryin’ shame
talkin’about bombs for peace
fallin’ down like showers of rain

now the cnn’s got it covered
i wouldn’t want to miss a thing
the cnn’s got it covered
i wouldn’t want to miss a thing
you think it can’t get much worse
wait and see what tomorrow brings

no matter what i do
that image burnin in my mind
yes seem like no matter what i do
that image burnin in my mind
only love can conquer hatred
only love can conquer hatred
only love can conquer hatred
that’s the only answer i can find

well now the whole world’s in an uproar
what in the world are we gonna do
yes the whole world’s in an uproar
what in the world are we gonna do
death’s flyin in the air & the fireballs burnin’
it’s comin’ down to me and you

Ain't Going To Be Here Long

Written By: Michael Pickett/Sweetest Gal Music/SOCAN

i spent my money
i misspent my time
dont worry baby
about this old heart of mine
ain’t going to be here long

my baby waitin down by the railway track
if i catch that flyer
i wont be comin back
ain’t going to be here long

i got mud all over
my best pair of shoes
you know by that buddy i ain’t
got no time to lose
ain’t going to be here long

my gal sally my gal sue
they put their heads together
and started talkin’ man
what can i do
ain’t going to be here long

sheriff john steele
he found out my name
i wont be flat footed boys
i’m gone again
ain’t going to be here long

hear me singing this lonesome song
don’t worry baby
i’ll be gone
ain’t going to be here
ain’t going to be here
ain’t going to be here long

Blues Is A Friend Of Mine

Written By: Michael Pickett/Sweetest Gal Music/SOCAN

c’mon everybody gonna have a hell of a time
you know the blues walked in my door
look like a friend o’ mine
look like a friend o’ mine

everybody got troubles
in the world it seems
it don’t make no difference
no matter where i’ve been
no matter where i’ve been

some people juk’n and dancin
cookin up some rice and beans
some people smokin that hmmm hmmm
it wasn’t nothin i seen
(spoken) i didn’t see nothin man
it wasn’t nothin i seen

spider john is in the 'koerner'
talkin to dave snaker ray
he’s gonna break out his 9-string guitar
the people want to hear him play
(spoken)get out your guitar man
they want to hear him play

you know i traveled all over
chicago down to new orleans
and the blues is always right there with me
every place i been
it’s every place i been

c’mon everybody gonna have a hell of a time
you know the blues walked in my door
look like a friend o’ mine
c’mon in here man
look like a friend o’ mine
kick your shoes off
look like a friend o’ mine
how ya bin doin
look like a friend o’ mine
let me pour you a drink or somethin’
look like a friend o’ mine
james cotton here too
blues is a friend o’ mine.

As Close As I Have Come

Written By: Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing / Gary Nicholson Music (ASCAP) & Michael Pickett/Sweetest Gal Music/S

they say angels appear
only when they're needed most
and they seldom let you know the things they've done
i've never been down quite so far
as when you took me in your arms
if that wasn't love
it's as close as i have come

there was comfort in your touch
sweet contentment in your smile
and the light in your eyes outshone the sun

all i needed was right there
in the time we had to share
if it wasn't love
it's as close as i have come

now i know i wasn't ready
for the gift you had to give
i guess i had more hard life to live

but i was more myself with you
than i've been with anyone

if it wasn't love
it's as close as i have come

now if i knew where to find you
i'd make up for lost time
i'd do all i could do
to make you mine

'cause i was more myself with you
than i've been with anyone
if it wasn't love
it's as close as i have come

'cause i was more myself with you
than i've been with anyone
if it wasn't love
it's as close as i have come

if it wasn't love
it's as close as i have come

Daddy Where You Been So Long

Written By: Michael Pickett/Sweetest Gal Music/SOCAN

well i wrote a letter to my lady
and i told her that i'm coming home
she'll be waiting for me down at the station
i know she will
and she'll say daddy where you been so long

i know when i see her dark eyes flashing
be a tear standing in my eye
it's been a mighty long time passing
yes it has
since i kissed my lady goodbye

i can hear that engine moan
i can hear that fireman ringing his bell
and i know it won't be long
i'll be on that train
back to that gal that i love so well

now there's a lady down there on the platform
working in the salvation army crew
just the way she tilt her head when she turned and smiled
lord lord it made me think of you

now my trunk already packed up and loaded
and i got my ticket in my hand
the train is nearly stoked and boarded
i know it is
i had all the lonely i can stand

i can hear that engine moan
i can hear that fireman ringing his bell
well i know it won't be long
i'll be on that train
back to that gal that i love so well

yeah i wrote a letter to my lady
and i told her that i'm coming home
she'll be waiting for me down at the station
i know that she will
and she'll say daddy where you been so long
she'll be waiting for me down on the platform
and she'll say daddy where you been so long
she'll say daddy where you been so long
she'll say daddy where you been so long

Discography

2010
COCO MONTOYA / I Want It All Back / Coco Montoya / Ruffhouse
*song* "As Close As I Have Come"
Gary Nicholson, Gary Nicholson Music, ASCAP
Michael Pickett, Sweetest Gal Music, SOCAN

2008
DVD:
MICHAEL PICKETT: Live at the Loft
includes interview with CBC's Laurie Brown
All new and original material.***

2006
DAVID GOGO: Bootleg Series, Volume 1 / David Gogo

2005
LIVE AT THE EL MOCAMBO '81 / Whiskey Howl / Solid Gold Records / EMI
NARROW HOUSE / Doc MacLean / Independent
THE STORY / Matt Minglewood / Norton Records
RIO / Darren Arsenault / Independent

2004
LIVE AT WINTERFOLK! / Michael Pickett / Wooden Teeth Records

2002
SOLO / Michael Pickett / Wooden Teeth Records
COLOR ME GONE / Charlie A'Court / Independent

2000
CONVERSATION WITH THE BLUES / Michael Pickett / Solid Gold Records / EMI
GET ME SOME / Jeff Healey / Forte Records

1998
BLUES MONEY / Michael Pickett / Wooden Teeth Records
RARE & BEAUTIFUL / Alan MacGregor / Independent
HARD DAYS GONE / Vito Alvaro / Saverio Records

1994
JUST GETTING STARTED / Rita Chiarelli / Stoney Plain Records
RISQUE / Terez Montcalm / BMG Records

1993
SOME OTHER TIME / Tim Thorney / Epic Records

1992
LONESOME & HURTING / Vern Cheechoo / Denon Records
SHAKE YOUR SPIRIT / Frozen Ghost / Capitol Records

1991
FIRE ME BACK / Rita Coolidge / Attic Records

1989
IN HER DREAM / Bobby Wiseman / WEA Records

1988
GROSSMAN'S LIVE 2 / Michael Pickett, Exec. Prod. / Spadina Beat Records

1987
GROSSMAN'S LIVE / Michael Pickett, Prod. / Spadina Beat Records
THE JITTERS / The Jitters / Capitol Records

1982
GHOST CULTURE / Robbie Rox / Rosehill Records

1981
FAMILY REUNION '74 / Whiskey Howl / Rosehill Records

1978
CHRIS HALL / Chriss Hall / Warner Bros.

1976
BIG BAD BO / Bo Diddley / Warner Bros.

1975
DIARY OF A SINNER / Movie Soundtrack w. Bo Diddley

1972
WHISKEY HOWL / Whiskey Howl / Warner Bros.

Set List

Typically 2 x 50 minute sets but has enough material to play all night long!

*original

Daddy Where You Been*
Ammo In The Icebox*
What Do You Think About That*
Bill's Song*
World In An Uproar*
Deportee
Ain't Going To Be Here Long*
Parchman Farm
Blues Is A Friend of Mine*
I Got Fooled
Louise*
Cherry Hill*
Wang Dang Doodle
As Close As I Have Come*
Statesboro Blues
Shake That Thing*
Lining Track
Terraplane Blues
When Rita Leaves
Wicked Grin*
Rollin' On*
Rosalie*
If You Lose Your Money
What'd I Come Here For*
Lowcountry Cooking*
Can't Find My Way Back Home*