Take the inventiveness of Bob Dylan, the melodic voice of John Denver, add the showmanship of Garrison Keillor and that’s Michael Johnathon.”
-Bob Spear – Publisher, HEARTLAND REVIEW
“While folksinging, delightful guitar picking, and environmental concerns have defined his professional life, this popular songwriter has embraced the modern age in a very unique way.”
-Jonathan Widran – All Music Guide
“Michael is one of the few performers who understands that music of the future must respect the music of the past. His strong understanding of the folk tradition is a breath of fresh air in this era of cookie cutter singer-songwriters.”
– Phil Shapiro – Bound for Glory
LISTEN to MJ being interviewed on a Public Radio feature. MJ discusses his history, WoodSongs, the SongFarmers movement, Caney Creek and performs several songs. 25 minutes click here
Folksinger Michael Johnathon has a long-standing career in the arts as a songwriter, playwright, composer of the opera, Woody: For the People, and as the host of the live audience broadcast of the WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour with a radio audience with over two million listeners each week on 500 public radio stations, public television coast-to-coast, plus American Forces Radio Network in 173 nations and now Friday evening on the RFD-TV network nationwide.
This ‘Woody Guthrie in a Cyber World’ grew up in upstate New York along the shores of the Hudson River. At 19 years old, he moved to the Mexican border town of Laredo, Texas and found a job working as the late night DJ on a small radio station. One night, he played ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ by Roger McGuinn and The Byrds. As the song played, he recalled seeing the songs writer, his neighbor Pete Seeger, performing in his Dutchess County hometown in New York. By the time the song had ended, he decided to pursue a career as a folksinger.
Settles in Mousie, Kentucky … Knott County
Two months later, he bought a guitar an
d a banjo and settled into the isolated mountain hamlet of Mousie, Kentucky … in the same county that Alice Lloyd came to. For the next three years, he traveled up and down the hollers of the Appalachian mountains knocking on doors and learning the music of the mountain people. His latest project is a children’s book about bluegrass music based on his song Mousie HiWay click here for info
Michael experienced hundreds of front porch hootenannies where folks would pull out their banjos and fiddles, sit on their front porches with him and play the old songs that their grandparents taught them.
Soon enough, he began performing concerts at hundreds of colleges, schools and fairs. He performed two thousand Earth Concerts, plus benefits for the homeless, farm families, and shelters helping battered women and children. In all, he sang to over two million people in one four-year stretch.
WoodSongs, Walden, Woody and SongFarmers
Now living near Lexington in the foothills of Appalachia, the Kentucky-based songwriter is a prolific artist with twelve released albums, three published books and several national projects. His play Walden: The Ballad of Thoreau has been performed over 8700 times in 42 countries. A tree-hugger at heart, he performed two thousand Earth Concerts at schools and colleges, plus benefits for the homeless, farm families, and shelters helping battered women and children. Billboard Magazine headlined him as an “UnSung Hero” and he has been featured on CNN, TNN, CMT, AP, Headline News, NPR, Bravo and the BBC.
Recently, Michael helped organize the national WoodSongs Front Porch Association to help organize rural and community music and a massive educational program. Members of the WFPA are called SongFarmers which is also the title of his album, the very first national CD release to be completely recorded on an iPhone. His new 176-page book WoodSongs III, released September 2017.
His music ranges from the simple, front porch folk style to massive productions with a 61-piece symphony. His concerts are usually solo outings with just his guitar, banjo, songs and stories. Beginning October 2020 his public television special full- symphony concert Songs of Rural America airs nationwide.
In addition to his albums, books, concerts and other projects the Martin Guitar Company recently introduced the Michael Johnathon signature model 0000-28s guitar. He lives in a log cabin on a hill surrounded by meadows, streams and woods outside of Lexington, Kentucky.
He is the recipient of the prestigious 2020 Milner Award for Excellence in the Arts.
His album, THE PAINTER and his next book WoodSongs 5 was released in 2021, his album AFTERBURN was released in 2022 … he is completing a movie script on the life of Vincent van Gogh, also called THE PAINTER. In 2023 his latest album, MJs 20th studio release, Garden of Silence was released.
Michael is the winner of the highest award present by Kentucky called the MILNER Award from Governor Steve Beshear. The new production of the WoodSongs Kids TV and Radio broadcast (Mr Rogers meets the Grand Ole Opry) won the 2023 National TELLY Award for Broadcast Excellence
VISIT HIS WEBSITE: MichaelJohnathon.com