Michael and the Music

Michael W. Herndon has a long history as a musician and singer songwriter that began as a kid and then many years later, he was discovered by legendary singer/songwriter Paul Anka while playing at Galena Lodge north of Sun Valley, Idaho in 1975. Paul became Michael's manager and producer. Michael landed a contract with United Artist Records in 1976 and Paul put him together with with one of the worlds greatest bass players, Leland Sklar (James Taylor, Phil Collins). Michael and Lee's friendship continues to this day. 

As these things tend to do, the contract with UA fell apart and Michael went back to school to get a real job... Which led to a deep personal relationship with legendary country music star, Merle Haggard when Merle was referred by two Prosthodontic specialists to Michael for surgical and reconstructive dental care. (Merle stated on his record "Haggard, like never before" that "This album was made possible by dental surgery by Dr. Michael W. Herndon." Merle was so gracious and kind !! )

Once, Michael was up at Merle's when he was recording some songs and Michael was sitting in the control room with Lou Bradley, the engineer when Merle hollered out for Michael to grab a guitar and come into the studio because they wanted a "finger picker". He went in, sat next to Scott Joss, asked Scott what key the song was in (D), and tuned up. The next thing Michael knew was that Merle started the song to record and Michael did not even know what song it was... only the key it was in! Afterwards, Michael told Merle "Next time at least tell me the song, maybe run through it at least one time!" Merle laughed and said "I wanted to see how you did under pressure." So he said "How'd I do?" and Merle said "You did fine." and then laughed again.... 

Michael has three albums to his credit (and more to come), backed up by Lee Sklar on bass, Jon Gilutin (Linda Ronstadt) on piano and keys, and Gregg Bissonette (Ringo Starr) on drums. This backup band is about as good as it gets, yet in the end it is all about the song. 

That is what is ultimately the most important: It is all about the song. We hope you listen carefully to the lyrics, the messages, and the intertwining of words with rhythms and melodies and that they all come together for you in a meaningful way, you the listener.

Michael has played with David LaFlame (It's A Beautiful Day), Michael Bloomfield (Paul Butterfield Blues Band, etc.), Joe Craven (David Grissman), Scott Joss (Dwight Yoakum, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson), Michael Wendling (a late Idaho music legend), and country music legend Merle Haggard, and shared gigs with Kate Wolf (many, many years ago...). 

Michael is a finger-style acoustic guitarist, and plays electric guitar, piano, and banjo. He started with piano lessons at age 7 with an old Gary Larson type lady with a ruler in her hand. Bought a guitar for $20 (new) in 1963 and learned to play listening to Joan Baez records and never took a lesson again. Right away Michael began writing songs and playing finger-style guitar instrumentals. Michael has always played original songs because life is short and if you can be satisfied musically with your own music, why learn someone else's stuff? Michael is very satisfied with a full musical life ensconced in his music of his own creation.

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In the recording studio with a Martin D-45 GE, Golden Era Brazilian guitar