Michael Charles: Down under to sweet home Chicago  

Monday 01st, October 2018 / 10:29
By Daniel Jaramillo  

Blues-rock guitarist Michael Charles has made his fortune with a Marshall stack and a Fender on his back.
Photo by Wendy Rae


CALGARY – The blues-rock idiom might be the most universal style of any kind of modern music genre.  Having wowed the audiences in late ‘60s and early ‘70s across Britain and the U.S., blues-rock would reach Australia as well.  

Melbourne native, Michael Charles, is a blues guitarist with an impressive five-decade career who enjoyed an honour that few musicians can lay claim to. In 1990, then in his mid-30s, Charles was invited by Buddy Guy’s management to play the fabled Legends Club in Chicago and share the stage with the man himself. Soon after making the journey, the blues meccas became his permanent home and he is now an American citizen.  

Photo by Joe Wyse

“It’s 29 going on to 30 years since I’ve been living here, so I call Chicago home. Before I came I had never been outside of Australia. I was very tight with the Australian music industry, and all at once I get thrown into this invitation to play with one of the greatest guitar players in the blues industry and one of my heroes,” recalls Charles. “I just knew him as a face on his album covers, I had never met the man. To have the opportunity to go to his club and be introduced to him, shake his hand and pretty much get tossed up on stage and play with him, you just say ‘Okay!’ Out of all my achievements, it’s the connection with Mr. Guy that is most special to me. I originally came to the States for a two-week tour and ended up staying for 30 years!” 

Charles is still on the road and visits Canada two to three times a year. What does it mean for Michael Charles to play blues-rock music today? 

“Playing my music live in 2018 is like going backwards, because I’m playing the music of the guys that put blues-rock on the map, like John Lee Hooker, B.B. King and Buddy Guy. I end up not going back to the second generation of blues players such as Cream, Santana or Jeff Beck, but to the first generation of players. As a songwriter it makes me more creative and makes me discover new music and makes my songwriting more unique.” 


Michael Charles performs Oct1 and 2 at Blues On Whyte (Edmonton), Oct4 at Wild Bills (Banff), Oct5 at River City Pub (Revelstoke), Oct. 6 Lorenzo’s Café (Enderby), Oct. 9 and 10 at Bud’s on Broadway (Saskatoon), Oct12 at Liquid Concert and Event Venue (Medicine Hat) and Oct13 at Bobby’s Place Olde World Tavern (Calgary)

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