PUTNEY >> Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present singer, songwriter and guitarist Michael Johnson, plus the Vermont-based Americana duo Laura Molinelli and Ben Campbell, at Next Stage on Friday, July 8, at 7:30 p.m.
Michael Johnson began playing guitar at 13, and over the next 10 years, won an international talent contest, recorded for Epic Records. He studied classical guitar with Graciano Tarrago at Liceo Conservatory in Barcelona, Spain and joined the Chad Mitchell Trio for a year, spending some of that time co-writing with fellow band member John Denver.
After a short stint as an off-Broadway actor, he released his first album, "There Is A Breeze," produced by Peter Yarrow and Phil Ramone on Atlantic Records in 1971. His subsequent record "The Michael Johnson Album," yielded his first two national hits — "Bluer Than Blue," which went straight to No. 1 on the pop and adult contemporary charts and was nominated for a Grammy, and "Almost Like Being in Love," which went to No. 1 on the R&B charts. Hits such as "This Night Won't Last Forever," "I Will Whisper Her Name," "Give Me Wings," "That's That" and "The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder," followed — four No. 1 hits and a total of nine top 10 hits on the pop and country charts in his career.
Always most at home on stage with just an acoustic guitar, Johnson has toured worldwide mostly as a solo performer, often sharing the bill with the likes of Wynonna and Clint Black. He has appeared on both the CMA Awards and the ACM Awards and on numerous television shows including Nashville Now, Music City Tonight and Austin City Limits, and has recorded songs for movies and television specials. His music shows diversity, depth and heart that only comes from years of dedication to a labor of love.
Singer/songwriter Laura Molinelli has released five albums, and has shared the stage with the likes of Lucinda Williams, Dar Williams, John Gorka, The Band and NRBQ. Multi-instrumentalist Ben Campbell toured for two years with Circus Smirkus as a member of the House Band and has collaborated with many notable Vermont musicians and groups, including Anais Mitchell.
Next Stage is located at 15 Kimball Hill in downtown Putney. Tickets are $18 in advance and $22 at the door. For information, call 802-387-0102. Advance tickets are available at www.nextstagearts.org, Turn It Up in Brattleboro and Putney Food Co-Op in Putney. For more information, visit www.mjblue.com, www.twilightmusic.org and www.nextstagearts.org.