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a brief biography...
Introduced to a great variety of music at an early age, Michael's musical background contains many influences.  These include:  Elton John, George Winston, Michael Gettel and Lyle Mays (piano); Dan Fogelberg, Robert Holmes, Tommy Emmanuel and Michael Hedges (guitar); Al Green, Daryl Hall, Adam Duritz and Tony Bennett (vocals); Aaron Copland, Franz Reizenstien, Antonio Vivaldi, Pat Metheny, Justin Hayward, Ian Anderson, Andrew McMahon (as well as the above writers - composition). 

This list explains the diverse styles Michael tends to work in.  What ties these artists together, and serves to inspire Michael,  is the importance of melody to their work.  His own compositions not only emphasize melody in the forefront, but also in background sections.  This creates multiple layers of melody, known as counterpoint.  Even drum tracks (deftly provided by longtime drummer/percussionist Chris Brown) contain a melodic quality.

Michael's first release of contemporary piano solos, True North, came in 2004.  Well received, this set the stage for 2006's The Road Less Traveled, which performed quite well on New Age charts and at internet radio.  2007's The Open Door was called by critics his best work yet.  Michael then decided his next effort would include a much larger production, adding orchestra, guitars, drums and vocals.  That project, Gravity, was released in fall 2011.  "360", his most recent project, was released in November, 2014.  Though it deviates from much of his recent work, it is actually a return to the various styles of music he both grew up with, and honed his skills on, featuring rock, pop, jazz and folk.

~ Straugh radio


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