A true Americana/Roots/Folk sound from the West. California native, Mike Lopez, wrote original timeless songs that reflected his surroundings. Mike was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. Part native American, Chumash of the Kalawashaq Village, he embraced the multicultural aspects of his deep roots. His multifaceted background was clearly reflected in his songwriting. Mike had created a wonderful way of telling stories through his original songs. An original sound of true Americana with a dash of red hot chili!
Mike had been singing and playing guitar since he was ten, and was strongly influenced by Country, Western Swing, Blues and Jazz. At the early age of thirteen Mike formed his first band and at fifteen he composed his first song, titled “Easy Chair".
When Mike was eighteen he moved to Portland Oregon where he spent fourteen years with the Western Swing band, The Beaver Trail Boys. During those years the band did a number of recordings. One song that was recorded, in response to the 1980 eruption of Mt. Saint Helens, “We Want Lava". The song became a local hit and was played extensively on the Dr. Denmento radio show.
In 1986 Mike returned to his home, to his roots, in Santa Barbara and formed the band The Goods. The band played a variety of Blues, Jazz, Rock and Country as well as some of Mike’s original tunes. In no time The Goods became a Santa Barbara favorite.
Always creating new venues for himself, Mike in the mid-90’s began The Mesa Concert Series which featured his band sharing the stage with many well known artist including: Kim Wilson, Coco Montoya, Terry Robb, Junior Watson, Mitch Kashmar, Debbie Davies, and more. He had also shared the stage with such artist as Leon Russell, Dave Mason, TJ Parker, Clifton Chenier, Joe Cocker and others.
Mike played an incredible variety of styles throughout his career and those influences were evident in his songwriting. The influence of his family held an important role in Mike’s songwriting. His rich family history extends back to the indigenous people of the California’s central coast. Mike had written numerous songs about his family’s lives. One of the last vaqueros of the Santa Ynez Valley was Benjamin R. Lopez, Mike’s grandfather , hence the name of Mike’s first CD, “Mike Lopez and The Vaqueros".
Mike's first CD was recorded at Fire Dog Studio, Sherman Oaks California. Produced and engineered by Paul D. Jameson. Paul was an integral part of Mike’s CD. Paul is an accomplished musician in his own right, and is featured throughout the CD.
Mike’s second CD, MIKE LOPEZ: Live Chicago Acoustic Underground, was released in tandem with his first tour of 2009. The CD was Mike’s first solo endeavor recorded live in Chicago, 2008 on Mike’s first nationwide tour. This CD was part of a live podcast, BNW productions, Chicago Acoustic Underground, Micheal Teach and Michael Narvaez.
In recent years Mike had performed for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on three separate occasions. He gave a stellar performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl: Buckaroo's At The Bowl, in 2002. June 2006, Mike and Barrett Nelson performed for the Live Oak Music Festival. These are just among a few of the outstanding events Mike has performed for in California. At all of these events, Mike performed his original music, and was very well received. Other performances which include festivals & shows:
Dana Adobe Rancho Nipomo- 2007
Live Oak Music Festival -2006
Santa Barbara Bowl- 2002
Santa Ynez Mission- 2000
First Night Santa Barbara, Sunken Garden- 2000
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History- 1998, 1999, 2001
Mike passed from this earth on Wednesday, 17th of August 2011, at 5:04am. Mike lived with his wife Susan in Oceano, California. Susan was by his side at his passing and throughout Mike's bout with cancer. Over the years Mike had been a traveling minstrel from the West. With his guitar slung over his shoulder, holding Susan's hand, Mike took to the road and toured the United States and Canada and lived his dream of sharing his songs.
MIKE LOPEZ & THE VAQUEROS
released 12 June 2000
The CD, Mike Lopez & The Vaqueros musicians are:
Rick Borella, electric bass guitar
Al DiMarco, accordion
Jeff Elliott, trumpet
Bill Flores, slide dobro, button accordion
Richard Hardy, native American wood and bamboo flutes
Jeff Heffner, harmony/background vocals
Paul D. Jameson, lead rhythm acoustic steel and nylon string guitar, lead rhythm electric guitar, mandolin, key bass, percussion
Mitch Kashmar, chromatic harmonica, blues harp
Mike Lopez,lead vocals,acoustic rhythm guitar
Randy Madron, lead electric guitar,harmony vocals
Barrett Nelson, lead and rhythm nylon string guitar dobro
Lee Rollagg, fiddle
Mike Lopez, Jeff Heffner, Paul D. Jameson, background vocal arrangements
Jeff Elliott, Mike Lopez, horn section arrangements
MIKE LOPEZ: Live Chicago Acoustic Underground
released 01 March 2009