Telluride Bluegrass: Mike Farris

Telluride Bluegrass: Mike Farris

[click “Play” for Mike Farris interview]

Farris Mike Banner 2 If your church on Sunday morning, June 21, 2009, is the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, expect a rousing, spiritual Baptist or roots tent revival in a most unusual package: a tall white guy in dark glasses accompanied by an 11-piece band, Roseland Rhythm Revue (horns, back-up singers, etc). The guy will be singing as if his life depended on it – and it does. Meet Mike Farris.

In the 17th century, a poet stirred by the rich polyphony of church music declared that the music showed him the way to heaven’s door. Ditto for Mike: the man who once found salvation in a bottle, now finds it through his music. For Mike, playing music is like praying. It shines a light on his soul. It keeps this rocker sober and soulful.

ImageHandler Mike’s story begins in rural Tennessee and winds down a rocky road with the Nashville-based alternative rock group, the Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies. He was the group’s wild and wooly frontman, trashed by day and hell raising by night, in a losing battle with booze and drugs. In 2007, Mike put out Salvation in Lights, explaining his return to the church-patinaed truths of his boyhood.

In the two years since Salvation In Lights, Mike’s live performances across the country, including Bonnaroo, SXSW, Austin City Limits Festival, and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, have left music novices, fans and seasoned artists with the same awe-struck response. His live shows, in no small part, led to this music veteran taking home the Americana Music Award in 2008 “New/Emerging Artist of the Year.”  Peter Frampton, Buddy Miller, Patty Griffin, Ricky Skaggs, Bruce Hornsby, Jackson Browne, Marty Stuart and many other artists have taken note of Farris’ incomparable vocal performance. 

Mike’s latest album, Shout! Live, INO/Columbia records, is a collection of live recordings from the Sunday Night Shout series at Nashville’s legendary Station Inn.
Tracks feature a blend of soul, gospel, American folk and rock, an intoxicating blend Mike refers to as “musical manna.”

To learn more about Mike and his journey to the light, press the “play” button and listen to his podcast.

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