"It began when my mother bought me a harmonica when I was about thirteen and then I saw Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee on TV. I was hooked for life."
The soul of this timeless genre was deeply rooted in his psyche and he continues to nurture this passion.
In the 70s, 80s, and 90s Pickett established himself as a musically ground-breaking, electrifying singer/songwriter/harmonica player leading seminal bands Whiskey Howl, Wooden Teeth and the Michael Pickett Band. Musically profound, they pushed the envelope for Blues and funky Roots music offering both original and classic material. He provided the direction for all three projects and surrounded himself with some of the top musicians in the country.
1998 saw the release of Pickett’s long-awaited and much anticipated debut CD Blues Money, an original project which received several awards including a JUNO nomination. In 2000 he followed up with another multi award winning CD Conversation With The Blues receiving another JUNO nomination. Billboard International wrote, “The eleven songs written by Pickett for his sophomore album, Conversation With The Blues, transcend the urban blues idiom with gospel, rural blues, and even classical music touches!”
After Pickett had laid down an acoustic guitar track on each of these CDs, he found himself steadily being drawn back into the world of acoustic Blues where it all started. In 2001 he immersed himself in the guitar practicing up to 14 hours a day. With focus and diligence, this musical transition transformed him into a formidable guitarist on the six-string, twelve-string and National Steel-bodied Duolian. In 2002, the transition was complete. Leaving the band behind, he re-emerged revealing yet another layer of his seemingly endless reservoir of musical talents.
With exceptional award winning rack harmonica skills and powerful vocals, Pickett delivers charismatic, compelling, and passionate performances that are charged with electricity and filled with authenticity and a unique style. He puts his own spin on
obscure tunes of legendary icons, e.g., Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Mississippi John Hurt, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, and showcases his own potent material. This songwriter has evolved into an eclectic and captivating storyteller through Delta Blues, Country, Folk, and Americana, revealing a profound understanding of where this music comes from and why it stands the test of time.
Pickett has performed as a solo artist touring throughout Canada, US, UK, and Europe, appearing in Blues, Folk, Jazz clubs, coffee houses, house concerts, theatres and festivals receiving standing ovations and calls for encores.
He has hosted and participated in harmonica and acoustic guitar workshops over the years and is a private instructor. His presence in songwriting circles has proven to be extremely valuable because of his authentic representation/ interepretation of acoustic Roots/Blues.
Michael Pickett has played with and/or shared the stage with Big Mama Thornton, John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Jeff Healey, Bo Diddley, Koko Taylor, Downchild, John Hammond, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Doug Kershaw, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Snooky Pryor, Sunnyland Slim, Lazy Lester, Tom Rush, Josh White Jr., Rory Block, Matt Minglewood, T.Graham Brown, Kentucky Headhunters, Hubert Sumlin, Taj Mahal, Muddy Waters, Son Seals, Big Bill Morganfield, Robert Cray, Buddy Guy, Jon Cleary, Tea Party, Anthony Gomes, Gary Nicholson, Whitey Johnson, The Players, Colin Linden, Brian Stoltz, George Porter Jr. and more..
- David Gogo Acoustic / Official Bootleg Series, Volume 2 / David Gogo
- Whiskey Howl Big Band Live At The El Mocambo ’81 / Whiskey Howl / True North
- Narrow House / Doc MacLean / Independent
- LIVE AT WINTERFOLK / Michael Pickett / Wooden Teeth Records
- Rio / Darren Arsenault / Independent
- SOLO / Michael Pickett / Wooden Teeth Records
- Color Me Gone / Charlie A’Court / Independent
- CONVERSATION WITH THE BLUES / Michael Pickett / True North
- Get Me Some / Jeff Healey / Forte Records
- BLUES MONEY / Michael Pickett / Wooden Teeth Records
- Rare & Beautiful / Alan MacGregor / Independent
- Hard Days Gone / Vito Alvaro / Saverio Records
- Just Getting Started / Rita Chiarelli / Stony Plain Records
- Risque / Terez Montcalm / BMG Records
- Some Other Time / Tim Thorney / Epic Records
- Lonesome & Hurting / Vern Cheechoo / Denon Records
- Shake Your Spirit / Frozen Ghost / Capitol Records
- Fire Me Back / Rita Coolidge / Attic Records
- In Her Dream / Bobby Wiseman / WEA Records
- Grossman’s Live 2 / Michael Pickett. Co-Producer / Spadina Beat Records
- Grossman’s Live / Michael Pickett. Co-Producer / Spadina Beat Records
- The Jitters / The Jitters / Capitol Records
- Ghost Culture / Robbie Rox / Rosehill Records
- Family Reunion ’74 / Whiskey Howl / Rosehill Records
- Chris Hall / Chris Hall / Warner Bros.
- Big Bad Bo / Bo Diddley / Warner Bros.
- Diary of a Sinner / Movie Soundtrack w. Bo Diddley
- Whiskey Howl / Whiskey Howl / Warner Bros.
In 1988, Michael’s voice was chosen to be THE BUDMAN in an unprecedented seven year Budweiser ‘Blues’ campaign which aired nationwide on radio and TV. In addition to his vocals and voiceovers, his distinctive harmonica sounds were also used. A healthy jingle career was born out of that campaign and his voice/vocals/harp were heard in a vast number of commercials across Canada and into the US.
SOCAN, AFofM, ACTRA