Grammy-Elected Blues Artist Plays Cheyenne & Laramie This Weekend
A five-time Grammy-elected blues artist is returning to Cheyenne and Laramie this weekend. Michael Charles comes with an impressive array of accolades - five Grammy elections, an inductee into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame, and performances at Buddy's 'Legends,' just to name a few. As a fan of classic blues myself, I'll admit I was a bit starstruck. And yet, when I spoke with him over the phone, I found myself chatting as if he were an old friend.
A Sit-Down Chat with Michael Charles
When Michael Charles gazed upon the skyline of Chicago, an unexpected sensation settled over him. He was in the Windy City to perform at the iconic Buddy Guy's 'Legends,' the blues club synonymous with the likes of Eric Clapton, ZZ Top, and of course, Buddy himself.
But, as Michael walked the streets of Chicago on a beautiful, clear night, he found himself not in a strange city...but, somehow, feeling quite at home.
"I don't know if you've ever been somewhere yourself where you just go there, and you feel like you belong. And that's what happened to me. And I just kind of... I've never looked back. I've never regretted it." he told me during our chat. Aside from having to learn to drive on the other side of the road (Michael hails from Australia, where European driving laws apply...), he quickly fell into the city's rhythm.
Naturally, I couldn't help but wonder why someone who has played the Legends stage and earned a coveted spot of a "premier entertainer" at the Chicago Chapter of the NARAS Grammy Association would journey far from the heartland of Jazz and Blues to perform in SE Wyoming. After all, Wyoming is very different from Melbourne, where Michael grew up, or Chicago - where this self-described city boy now calls home.
15 Years of Serenading the Cowboy State
As Michael recalls, Cheyenne was his first show in Wyoming. He's been performing in the Cowboy State now for around 15 years, touring Casper, Rock Springs, Cheyenne, and the surrounding areas. When I asked why he chose to travel to our corner of the U.S., it was hard not to hear a bit of a nostalgic smile in his voice.
"Going to one of the biggest cities in the world and such a beautiful city, it kind of attracted me. But Wyoming and Montana and all those areas out that way, the landscape is gorgeous. I've been there, you know, in the summertime, I've been there in the wintertime, no matter what time of the year you go areas, they're just...they just stay with you."
"Well...the thing is that you can drive for miles and miles and miles and see nothing, and then all at once you drive through this, you know, a little town or something, and you stop for gas, and... Everybody's just so friendly, and you know so welcoming..."
And, ever the gentleman, he couldn't pick a favorite city in our state to visit.
"It's hard to explain, but when you travel the way I do, every place you go to seems to have certain aspects about it that it's so different from somewhere else. It's really hard to say which is your favorite place if that makes any sense to you."
The answer was simple as to why he loves performing in Wyoming - it's like performing for old friends. "That's what's the best way to put it. [Concert-goers,] they become your friend. You get to know everybody...I mean, Chicago is home, but everywhere I go, I feel like I'm at home, and that's the best way that I can explain."
Hear more from Michael about his journies through Wyoming, his "dream" Blues duet performance of all time, performing in Chicago, and more in the full interview below:
Michael Charles Brings Blues Back to the Cowboy State
Michael's next show in Wyoming is on Friday, June 16, at the Redwood Saloon in Cheyenne. The show is free to attend.
He'll also perform Saturday, June 17, at the Sweetwater Blues Fest in Rock Springs and at the Buckhorn Bar Father's Day Blues Show on Father's Day (June 18).
Learn more about Michael Charles with a visit to his website by clicking here.