Artworks: 10 questions with Australian blues artist Michael Charles

Australian blues artist Michael Charles will perform a free concert at K J McKeon's in Morris on Oct. 14.
Australian blues artist Michael Charles will perform a free concert at K J McKeon’s in Morris on Oct. 14.

MORRIS –  On Oct. 14, Grammy-elected and recent Blues Hall of Fame inductee Michael Charles will perform a free concert at K J McKeon’s in Morris.

Read on to learn more about this Australian blues artist and why he’s coming to the area.

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BARAN-UNLAND: Why did you choose to include a small town like Morris on your tour?

CHARLES: I personally did not choose Morris, as my agent does all the booking, but I [sic] so willing to play all sizes of towns and cities. I am just interested in, and always have been, for as many people as possible to hear my music. (Incidentally, audiences in small towns are some of the best).

BARAN-UNLAND: For attendees who are new to your music and your performing style, what can they expect?

CHARLES: They can expect original blues, rock, pop, ballads and a few well known covers. My show is entirely guitar driven.

BARAN-UNLAND: Where do you find the inspiration for your music?

CHARLES: Everyday life experiences. There is no better portal.

BARAN-UNLAND: How and why did you make the leap from Australia to the United States?

CHARLES: Years ago my management in Australia were working with Buddy Guy’s management and an invitation was extended to me. Mr. Guy, a long time hero of mine made it impossible to say no. I traveled back and forth for a couple years, testing the waters and then made the decision to try and do in America what I had done in my homeland.

BARAN-UNLAND: Who introduced you to the blues and what made you fall in love with the genre?

CHARLES: My dad taught me my first chords when I was 5 years old. The radio was pretty much the only form of audio media back them [sic], so I was influenced by My. Buddy Guy, Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones, Fogerty, Carlos Santana and the list goes on. The majority of our genres and the artists are blues based, so it was quite natural.

BARAN-UNLAND: Have you always written your own music? Why?

CHARLES: Yes I have. Writing is form of my expression, experiences, and some just for plain entertainment. It is my communication.

BARAN-UNLAND: What’s your goal in writing and performing?

CHARLES: My goal as “cliche-ish” as it may sound, is to make people happy! (If I don’t, I am not doing my job).

BARAN-UNLAND: What challenges have you encountered in meeting your goal?

CHARLES: In my early days, I would say acceptance. I and my music was always so different, which, ironically, these days that is exactly what the industry seeks out. But back then, they wanted you to fit into a mold.

BARAN-UNLAND: What advice would you give blues artists as they start their career?

CHARLES: Keep your eyes on tomorrow. Be willing to stick in. Believe in yourself, be willing to do what ever it takes. Be true to yourself and do not do anything you don’t want to do just to be accepted.

BARAN-UNLAND: What else would you like to add?

CHARLES: I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to accomplish all that I have and I express how grateful I am and how important my support system it is to me and my career. From family, to employees, to agents, to promoters, to venue owners, to the very editor of this article, to radio DJ’s to television hosts and hostesses, to my audiences, to the press, to the very editor of this article, and the list goes on. I am forever grateful and hope to continue doing what I do for a long long time.



WHAT: Australian blues artist Michael Charles in concert

WHEN: 7 p.m. Oct. 14

WHERE: K J McKeon’s

ETC: 115 Wauponsee St., Morris

INFORMATION: Call 815-941-2100 or visit

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