A melding of earthy grace and campfire poeticism, singer, songwriter, and guitarist Michael Waite hails from the north shore of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Weaving together a ragtag quilt of folk, jazz, Americana, blues, and classic singer/songwriter elements, Waite's songs explore the geography and nuances of everyday life while keeping a keen eye on the pursuit of happiness and wholeness. Common themes in his work include the wonders of the natural world, the mysteries of the spiritual, and the joys of kith and kin. He's not afraid to sing about his darkness too, but at the end of the day he knows what he has and is grateful for it.
Raised in Harvey, a small northern hamlet bordering the port city of Marquette, Waite took early influence from blues and folk albums and the traditional Irish songbook favored by his father. He studied trombone for a time, though it was the guitar that eventually became his primary companion. Earning a classical voice degree from Northern Michigan University, he began his career as a folksinger, playing his own songs alongside a motley curation of covers. Before long he'd become a staple of the North Country music scene, connecting with audiences in the rare way that only true, deep talent does. While his powerful voice can easily reach the back seats, a quiet humility and gentle warmth marks his demeanor on and off stage. With each performance Waite disappears completely into the song, transporting himself and his listeners with grace, power, and the hard-won finesse earned by years of singing in all kinds of situations.
From the start, his songs and lifestyle grew out of the same root system. Building a home in the Huron Mountains just northwest of Marquette, he and his wife began raising a family in the rustic Michigan backwoods and their shared experiences inspired much of the material on 2008's Let It Go, Waite's debut album. Recorded in Chicago with a brilliant band of close friends and infused with a lifetime of musical influences, Let It Go beautifully captures the essence of Waite's philosophy; its songs meditate on themes of love, patience, connection, and the concept of home in both the physical and emotional senses. A critical success, the album served to broadcast his music well beyond Northern Michigan's borders and in the years since its release, he's been found touring as far afield as the Pacific Northwest. In 2015 he formed the six-piece acoustic combo, Adam Sawfox, helping him explore new tonal landscapes and a richer harmonic palette. With a hopper full of new songs and a group of collaborators eager to bring them to life, Waite is currently recording his follow-up album.
“His velvet voice, smooth finger-picking acoustic guitar style combined with honest, beautifully crafted songs will touch your heart and bring a tear to your eye. Songs about friendship, love, bad habits, and the good life”
“One of the best one-man shows you’ll ever see”
“One of my favorite songwriters and singers in Michigan”
“Marquette’s quintessential roots singer-songwriter”
“ernstig zijn is een gave die Michael Waite volledig beheerst”
(Serious songwriting is a gift that Michael Waite completely controls)
Every Sunday: Harry South and I continue our residence at the Northland Pub in the Landmark Inn in Marquette from noon until 3. Beyond the music enjoy their delicious pub menu and a carefully-created bloody mary bar.
Other Dates Coming Up:
Thursday, February 14, 8:15 pm: Science on Tap- Request Night at Ore Dock Brewing Company. This month I’ll be downstairs in the tap room. I’ll bring the request wheel since we’ll be in a cozier space!
Sunday, February 17, 6pm: Zephyr Wine Bar
Saturday, February 23: Winter Roots Festival: A day full of folk music, dance and workshops at venues throughout downtown Marquette. See link for a schedule of events and artists. I’ll be playing a 30 minute set at 2:20pm in the middle of a lineup of UP singer-songwriters in the Marquette Commons building downtown
Wednesday, March 13, 6pm: Delft Bistro
Thursday, March 14, 8:30pm: Science on Tap- St. Patrick’s week edition at Ore Dock Brewing Company. I’ll be joined by the traditional Irish band The Knockabouts as well as my wife Erica, who will teach a few Scottish/Irish dances.
Sunday, March 17, 6pm: Zephyr Wine Bar Irish Singalong