Following a two-week U.S. tour in 1990, Australian blues guitarist and songwriter Michael Charles — an accomplished musician in his own country — said he decided to try his luck in America.
He returned to the states soon after and it’s been his home ever since.
“I got myself permission to stay for six months and when those six months were over, I kind of thought, ‘Well, things are going pretty good,’” Charles said.
“So, I extended it for another six months and then I kept extending it and 28-29 years later, here I am.”
Since his return to America, Charles has toured throughout the U.S. and Canada. He said he loves life on the road and lets that road take him where it will.
“I don’t think too much about where my life’s going,” Charles said. “I just kind of go with the flow and where life takes me, I take the opportunities. And I feel that that’s the best way to do things.
I think when you overplan, life can be a great disappointment.”
Rather than overplan, Charles has simply followed his passion for music — a passion he’s maintained since before his first show at the age of 7.
“I don’t remember not playing guitar,” he said. “Basically, if you try to remember when you first started walking, I feel the same way with my guitar.”
Charles’ earliest inspiration came to him through the radio of the 1960s and 1970s — the Rollings Stones, the Beatles, Elvis Presley and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
“When I was starting out as a young boy, there was no such thing as social media or cellphones,” he said. “It was a whole different world. I was influenced by what I would hear on the radio. The radio was your main media to listen to music.”
Charles would later discover his favorites were inspired by earlier blues greats — BB King, Howlin’ Wolf, Buddy Guy and the rest.
“I was learning the blues without knowing it was the blues — as far as I was concerned, it was just another hit record on the radio,” Charles said. “That’s what I’m doing now: trying to keep the blues alive, but with a twist.”
The show today will be smaller than the shows Charles generally plays, but he said he loves the smaller venues because it feels like bringing all his experience back in time.
“When you’re playing a smaller venue, it’s a whole different animal because there’s an intimacy about it,” he said. “It brings you back to where you were when you started as a kid.”
Charles’ show — one stop on his “All I Really Know” 2017 tour — runs 8 p.m.-midnight today at the Buckhorn Bar and Parlor, 114 Ivinson Ave. There is no cover charge. Go to www.michaelcharles.us for more information.