Mike is also a Vietnam combat veteran who served with the 1st Air Cavalry
Listen to Nue-ba-Den for his perspective.
When poor health limited his physical activity at age 12, Mike Morningstar turned to the guitar. He concentrated on learning the "flat-pick" style for the next three and a half years. In 1964 at 16 years of age, Mike kicked off his professional musical career when he joined a rhythm & blues/soul band, composed of mostly black artists.
The next eight years found Mike performing with both rock and soul bands until 1972 when he released his first recording. It was a 45 rpm called Buffalo Creek. The song (co-written with his brother, Steven) was in response to a disastrous flood in southern West Virginia caused by the collapse of a mine-tailings "gob-pile" dam. When the make-shift dam collapsed, a 25 foot wall of water and debris swept the Buffalo Creek Valley leaving 125 dead and 500 homeless.
The release of his first record was promoted with an eight concert tour of West Virginia as warm-up for nationally known rock artists, Black Oak Arkansas. The tour marked the debut of his career as a single entertainer and singer/songwriter.
For the past three decades, Mike has played music in nightclubs and pubs, at festivals and college campuses and as the opening act for many artists including: Doc Watson, Marshal Tucker Band, Vince Gill, "Spider John" Koerner, Paul Geremia, Pure Prairie League, Tom Wopat, Dan Seals, Mike Cross, John Hartford and the Goose Creek Symphony.
A self-produced cassette of 12 original songs was released in 1992, and in 1995, a second cassette was released of live recordings from four concert appearances at the Common Grounds Coffeehouse in Charleston, West Virginia. Called Common Grounds, the cassette includes six original songs and six covers by artists who influenced his music over the years.
In 1993, Morningstar appeared on the nationally syndicated West Virginia Public Radio program, Mountain Stage, in a singer/songwriter concert featuring artists, bluesman John Hammond and American Indian songwriter Bill Miller. Mountain Stage provided the opportunity for Mike's music to be heard on over 160 National Public Radio affiliates across the country.
Morningstar receives an especially enthusiastic welcome when he plays his own creation, a homemade instrument, he calls the "electric hickory stick." (The instrument was developed from "a bad case of cabin fever.") It consists of a bowed piece of hickory limb with one string and an acoustic microphone. The pitch and tone are controlled by pushing and pulling on the stick and the result is a twangy, mountain, "jaw-harp, foot-stomping sound."
Common Grounds Plus 4 was released this past January (1998), which contains all the material from the Common Grounds album and four songs from Mike's first tape. As a tribute to the 26th Anniversary of the tragedy, the song Buffalo Creek is included on the CD.
I june's release of Mike's most recent project, Far Muse, takes his early country/folk roots to a new level of maturity and excellence. Playing 12-string guitar and harmonica and performing lead vocals, he joins forces with background vocalists, "Shirley Somewhere," and collaborates with several additional musicians to produce a multi-layered, richly textured recording of haunting beauty and poignancy. Lyrics of the Far Muse songs reveal the poet within Morningstar and his music vividly reflects their authentic imagery.
For bookings, tapes and CD's contact:
Route 1, Box 159
Cox's Mill, West Virginia 26342
Back to Mike Morningstar's Official Site