“World’s Greatest Unknown ?”
( RARWRITER, December 2011)
First there was Lennon and McCartney. Then there was Elton John. It was a while before Tracy Chapman. Artists that get to the heart and soul of all that is beautiful in music come around far too rarely. Thankfully, one man has been that tireless champion of the purest joy and most powerful songs for 35 years. That man is Michael Butler.
With nothing but the spontaneous attacks and rhythms on his acoustic guitar, an earnest and soulful voice, and a proven ability to connect with live audiences, Butler exists to bring people together with the ever-binding spirit of song.
A resident of Harlem, this "New York city boy" had already spiritually crossed the Atlantic Ocean by the age of four, when he first heard the Beatles and was immediately hooked, realizing his calling incredibly early.
"Well, that's for me," Butler says of that epiphanic moment. "That's what I must do."
The Beatles inspired Butler to embark on a performing and songwriting career that has spanned six studio albums and two continents over 30 years. He has been through every genre---hard rock, rock, Motown, Americana, and even rap---you name it. But 1993 brought a reinvention where Butler traded up his electric guitar for an acoustic & grew out his dreadlocks never looking back. Since then, he has performed cover songs and original material in front of packed audiences during an 11-year residency in New York's Times Square. He has also toured overseas in countries like Denmark, Germany, and Ireland, where at one memorable moment a teenage girl on a Longford Street ran after him "just to touch my hair - A Hard Days Night moment to say the least"
The “Locks”: These sort of experiences (And Hair) are tied to Michael Butler's identity. He is African-American, but his music transcends ethnicity and race in a way that's reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. As RARwriter.com put it, Butler "has a cross-cultural thing going for him, a personality who owns all that comes with being Black but is so much more."
This post-racial identity is heard through all of Butler's music, a style that has elements of the singer-songwriter genre, delta blues, and Americana, but every melody is unmistakably familiar, with touches of classic songwriters like John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Tracy Chapman, and Sly Stone, influences found in songs like "Denmark and Me," "Catherine Michelle," and "Key West." Most importantly, Butler's music also transcends nationalities---sometimes he sounds eerily like European stars like Denmark's Thomas Helmig, Sweden's Patrik Issakson, and Ireland's Glen Hansard.
Up next from Michael Butler are his next few albums, a collection of intimate acoustic songs as well as “off to the side projects” of Hard Rock, New Wave & Dance/R&B as well. “Why” ? Because they exists & are written…and for the “fun of it” as Butler puts it. Quote: “I let the song write itself, and if it goes the way of Techno, I let it take itself there”. As far a “My Style”, the acoustic cd’s – All 2 to 3 of them - will Spell that out what Michael Butler is about”. The Acoustic songs are the narrative of Butler’s here and now 2013/14… songs of the moment, of the place, and completely from the heart. He is also seeking ever-burning desire to form real connections with audiences worldwide, especially in Europe.
"When I find myself watching the show from above me," Butler says, "with the crowd swaying & locked together, all in the same direction, to the same beat...That's when I know it's a great show. Somehow, I levitate, and the show is going on its own. And I'm just watching, quite pleased and along with the ride."
It's a ride that has always been at the heart of every great song, and at the heart of music, driven by a great musician. Michael Butler is that musician. Join him as he guides you through all the places that make music real.