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Bluesman Michael Charles returns to Banff Rose

“[The pandmeic] kind of made me want to make me go back out on the road even more than I ever wanted to because I felt it’s not going to defeat me."

BANFF – Banff is calling Chicago Blues hall of famer Michael Charles.

The eight-time Grammy elect returns to the Rose and Crown in Banff for a two-night stint Tuesday and Wednesday (Oct. 4-5).

At 66 years old and with more than five decades in the business, many musicians can learn from the bluesman who isn’t slowing down.

“After the pandemic, some people called it after 20 years of being on the road – it actually had an opposite effect to me,” said Charles. “It kind of made me want to make me go back out on the road even more than I ever wanted to because I felt it’s not going to defeat me.”

Charles kept busy with a writing notepad and guitar in hand during the cold period of no gigs or shows for musicians and live arts. He released a live album with no audience and mini-doc at that time, but was eager to get back out on the road touring.

“Earlier this year, we came into Canada and now we’re doing it again, so it’s promising,” said Charles.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to continue doing this.”

The Canadian swing on Charles' tour has grown over the past 17 years. First starting in Saskatoon and Edmonton, Charles’ pit stops in the Great White North are now a cross-country excursion.

Joining Charles (vocals, guitars) on stage for his latest tour are Luke Gill (bass) and Ryder Olle (drums, percussion) forming their “power trio”.

On stage, the newly named Illinois Artstour Artist is particular about details and wants to give the audience the best sounding experience.

“I’ve got a few new songs that I’ve been working on so we’re going to kind of randomly throw them in the shows and see how it works out live,” said Charles. “I can’t talk for all musicians, but I like to get that song as pure as I can to recording or give the recording justice.”

Originally from Australia, Charles enjoys his home country’s representation around the Canadian mountain town. Admittedly, it blew his mind how many Aussies there were during his first performance at the popular bar and restaurant in 2018.

“I finally asked the question: are there any Canadians living in Banff?” he said with a laugh.

“I’ve been living in the Chicago area for over 30 years, and I think in that time I bumped into two Australians in 30 years.”

Charles takes the stage in Banff at 10 p.m. both nights.

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

An award-winning reporter, Jordan Small has covered sports, the arts, and news in the Bow Valley since 2014. Originally from Barrie, Ont., Jordan has lived in Alberta since 2013.
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