This page contains a short bio that can be copied/pasted for posters or print, as well as a full-length version available as plain text or downloadable PDF.
Short biography (general)
Michael Gaither was raised on the central California coast and takes the “write what you know” idea to heart, crafting songs that showcase both the nostalgia of small-town life and the foibles of modern technology. Always with plenty of humor in the mix. He turned to songwriting after a background in journalism and a narrow brush with standup comedy. (He sold jokes to Jay Leno. A long time ago. Back when Jay Leno was still funny.) Michael has released four CDs of original material, all of which have received international airplay.
Offstage, Michael produces/hosts the “Songs and Stories” podcast, which features stories behind his songs and interviews with other independent songwriters.
Short biography (local)
Whether you call it Americana, folk, or singer-songwriter, Michael Gaither is a storyteller. He takes the “write what you know” idea to heart, crafting songs that cover small-town nostalgia as well as modern technology, always with plenty of humorous takes on everyday life. A Santa Cruz County native, his songs also have a healthy preoccupation with locales from the past (“Starlite Drive-In Saturday Night”) and present (“Highway 17″).
Michael turned to songwriting after a background in journalism and a narrow brush with standup comedy. (He sold jokes to Jay Leno. A long time ago. Back when Jay Leno was still funny.)
Michael has released five CDs of original songs, all of which have received local and international airplay. Michael also produces/hosts the “Songs and Stories” podcast, which features stories behind his songs and interviews with other independent songwriters.
Like his song “Jack of All Trades” says, California native Michael Gaither has done a little of everything: journalist, corporate trainer, even a stint as a joke writer for Jay Leno. (A long time ago. Back when Jay Leno was funny.) All roads eventually led him to music. And writing.
The UK’s “Maverick Country has called him “a writer with a keen eye for detail and a gentle sense of humor”. A storyteller as much as a songwriter, Michael takes the “write what you know” idea to heart, wrapping his music around stories of small-town American life with humorous takes on day-to-day life: Big cars, bad drivers, cell phones, a baby’s first steps. One CD Baby customer said “I love the way Michael crafts his lyrics and speaks about everyday stuff that you wouldn’t think to make into a song.”
Michael’s love of animals and rescue work also find their way into his music. “Charlie and Chloe” is the true story of a rescued orphan coyote. “Not Stubborn Not My Mule” dispels the old myth. (Mules are just set in their ways; an apt song metaphor if ever there was one.) “Roselle” is another true story. It’s a tribute to the guide dog that walked her blind owner out of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001.
“Home” was a running theme on “Starlite Drive-In Saturday Night” (2012), Michael’s third independent release. This story collection took an “embracing the past while facing the present” approach. Michael mixed nostalgia (the title track) with a fondness for his hometown (“Still a Small Town”), along some of his trademark humor (“Tell Me Where It Hurts”, “Now It’s a Taqueria”.)
“Starlite Drive-In Saturday Night” was Americana station KPIG ‘s featured CD for “Fresh Pork Chops” during the week of 8/6/12. (The CD was played in its entirety, two cuts at a time, each night of the week.)
The record was a logical follow-up to Michael’s previous CDs. “Spotted Mule and Other Tales” (2006), which was called “a brilliant debut” from the online station Wild West Radio and “Dogspeed” (2009), called “a great CD talking about everyday life” by the music blog Indie4Life.com.
On “Hey Karma,” his latest (and fifth) release, Michael juggles his favorite themes
of nostalgia, sarcasm and gratitude, taking on topics ranging from angels, to the
zombie apocalypse to the nonsense world of corporate speak. Musically this is a
minimalist record focusing on the lyrics, but he manages to fit in guitars, banjos,
mandolins, ukulele, pedal steel, harmonica, and even accordion. “Hey
Karma,” released in May 2017 through Miracle Mile Records, is available at
Michael’s website, and on CD Baby and iTunes.
As an advocate for other artists, Michael ran a local open mic and booked and
hosted a local concert series for several years, was a showcase emcee at the
American River Music Festival (2007-2016), and still books/hosts the occasional
house concert out of his Watsonville CA home.
Offstage, Michael also produces/hosts the ten-years-running “Songs and Stories”
podcast, which features stories behind his songs and interviews with other
independent songwriters. You can listen to “Songs and Stories” on Michael’s web
site, in iTunes and Stitcher, and weekly on Grateful Dread Public Radio and KC
• Hey Karma (2017)
• Lump Of Coal (2014)
• Starlite Drive-In Saturday Night (2012)
• Dogspeed (2009)
• Spotted Mule And Other Tales (2006)
For booking and interview requests, please call 831-288-2226 or send an email