Michael Packer played his first gig at age 15 at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village. Although a native New Yorker, Packer’s travels to the West Coast led to his meeting up with George Thorogood, and it was there that his love of the blues was born. His lifelong music career has taken him from coast to coast and points in between, fronting or playing in a variety of bands, with numerous recording projects to his credit.

Packer’s first band was Papa Nebo, which recorded on Atlantic Records, followed by the band, Free Beer, with which he toured extensively with the likes of the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Johnny Rivers, Dr. Hook, and Clifton Chenier Free Beer recorded three albums (Buddha and RCA Records), all making Billboard’s Top 100 list. He performed with celebrated artists, John Hammond Jr., the Matt Murphy Band, and Huey Lewis, and fronted a ten-piece band called Coolstep. Most recently, Packer toured with two-time Grammy Award recipient and legendary Delta blues guitarist, the late David Honeyboy Edwards.

Among his many album credits are Rikers Island Blues, The Sunny Side of Me (solo album), a live session recorded at BB King’s, New York, with guest artists, Jimmy Vivino, David Maxwell, Sandy Allen, Dave 'Snakeman' Runyan and Felix Cabrera, as well as a Best Of release (Iris Music Group), and his 2011 release of My Time To Cry, featuring unreleased forty year old Atlantic Records recordings.

Michael Packer was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame on September 25, 2011 as “Master Blues Artist from New York”.


© September 2011
Photos: Susan O'Kane