Thomas Michael
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Thomas Michael

Band Country Singer/Songwriter


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"Bisarck Tribune"

Thomas Michael and his American Honky-Tonk Band play at the Lonesome Dove
Dec 07, 2007 - 04:04:39 CST
Bismarck Tribune
It was a fiddle player on the TV who opened up the door of music to Thomas Michael. He turned to his father in his house in Cincinnati and decided that music was what he wanted to do. He was already writing books in school, so when his father bought him a guitar it was no surprise he began writing music.

"As soon as Ilearned three chords, I was writing my own songs," Michael said.

That was when he was 13 years old. By 15, he had begun performing in bars.

"I listened to Poison and hard rock, but I also grew up on country."

By 21, he had formed his own band, American Honky-Tonk Band, and altered his focus to country-western music, although he has continued to play Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" in shows throughout his career.

"Merle Haggard opened the door for me," Michael said. "That's the style I chose to do, but I have a little rock 'n' roll background in me."

Now he's been on the road with his band for five years, playing shows in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona and everywhere in between, promoting his albums and building a fan base.

"It took a while to take the leap of faith to stop doing everything and make a living out of music," Michael said.

And he's been successful, coming a long way from weekend gigs in his hometown. He won the best male country vocalist award in 2003 at the Cammy awards in Cincinnati, and then hired a booking agent, Dagen Entertainment, when he started playing on the road. Though he hasn't yet signed with a label, Michael is managed by Mark Chaney and MC Productions in Nashville, Tenn., and just completed his debut album, "Hard Man to Love." All of the songs are written by Michael.

"This CD has accumulated all of the songs I've written over the years," Michael said.

Some of the songs include "Gabe's Song," which was written for his son and has been No. 1 on the Minnesota and Wisconsin charts for 13 weeks, "What Would John Wayne Do?" and "Hard Man to Love." Michael and his band will be performing these songs at the Lonesome Dove in Mandan this weekend.

"The Dove has been a stop on the tour for about two years," Michael said. "Last time I was here it was in July and it was very hot; now it's very cold."

In addition to playing at the Lonesome Dove, Michael will be performing community service, as a way to give back to the community since he's on the road most of the time. He is a mechanic as well as a musician, and will be giving general advice to the families of deployed soldiers in the National Guard at 1 p.m. today at the Armory.

"(Michael) doesn't get a chance to get in touch with the community that often because he's always on the road," PR coordinator Katie Robinson, who also is the Family Readiness Group coordinator for the National Guard in Duluth, Minn., said.

On Saturday, Michael will play a concert for at-risk kids involved in the Youthworks program.

"It's always nice to be able to do things for people," Michael said. "I'll bring my acoustic and play a few songs."

Michael has another CD in the works, scheduled for release next fall. This one is called "Honky-Tonks and Cheap Motels," touching on the subject of living on the road. The songs are based on road stories, since that is where American Honky-Tonk Band has spend most of their lives the past five years.

"This one is more raw sounding, and it's very real," Michael said. "I'm very excited to get it out."

Michael's songs are played on Sunny 101.9 in Bismarck.

(Samantha Stockman is a senior at Century High School.)

Thomas Michael and his American Honky-Tonk Band are playing at the Lonesome Dove in Mandan today, Saturday and Sunday at 8:30 p.m. daily.

Band members include Thomas Michael on acoustic guitar and vocals, Jason Judd on guitar and backup vocals, Bill Bogan on drums and Mike Ellis on bass guitar.

Michael with be at the armory at 1 p.m. today with the National Guard and will play a concert on Saturday for YouthWorks. - Bismarck Tribune


"Hard Man To Love" Debut CD 2007
"Honky Tonks and Cheap Hotels" to be released in 2008.

Two singles have received radio airplay in select markets.
His first single "Gabes Song" went to Number 1 in Duluth Minn. and stayed there for 14 weeks.
His second release "What Would John Wayne Do" is currently Number 4 and climbing in the same market.



Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Thomas was drawn to Country Music at a young age after hearing Merle Haggard on the radio. With influences including Merle Haggard, Kenny Chesney, George Strait, and Alan Jackson, Thomas has put together a stage show that is enjoyed by Country Music fans of all ages.
Thomas and his American Honky-Tonk Band have made a big impact on much of the US during 2006 and 2007. Living 3/4 of the year on the road, they have discovered what 'LIFE ON THE BUS' really means. Having been a regional act peforming in the Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee prior to 2006, Thomas and his band prepared for a strong road tour in 2006 and 2007. They have now expanded into the mid-western United States and the response has been nothing short of exciting! Playing from Ohio to Wyoming, and everyplace in between, including Georgia, New Mexico, Nevada, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, 2008 brings on yet more territory and after every stop, more fans!
His debut album "Hard Man To Love", released in 2007 is compiled of songs all written by Thomas. His up tempo songs will make you clap and dance, and the ballads will make you remember why you fell in love. The new album, "Honky Tonks and Cheap Hotels" will be ready for release in 2008. This is another CD made up of Thomas's original material, which the fans love.
Thomas has enjoyed succesful radio airplay in select markets across the country. "Gabes Song", his first release in the Duluth, MN. market went to Number 1 and stayed there for 14 weeks. His current single "What Would John Wayne Do" is currently at Number 4 in Duluth and climbing every week.
Thomas is managed by Mark Chaney and MC Productions in Nashville. They are currently in meetings with the labels to find the right deal for Thomas.