Michael Powers was born and raised in Bayonne, NJ and spent his summers down South, where the evening entertainment was porch bluesman. He was taught the barre chording technique on guitar by the legendary Jimmy Reed. Powers’ school band, Apple Core, opened for both Steel Mill (now Bruce Springsteen) and headliner James Cotton in the late 1960s. Cotton became Powers’ second mentor and hired him as guitarist during high school summers off.  Powers became part of the New York City cult clubs; Great Gildersleeves, Manny's Car Wash, Maxx Kansas City, The Ritz, CBGB's and Terra Blues. He has recorded, performed with, or opened for Johnny Winter, Pinetop Perkins, Buddy Miles, Expensive Winos, Stanley Jordan, Tom Jones, Bruce Springsteen, and the Chambers Brothers, among many more.  In 1989, Powers’ Chelsea Blues Band opened Bleecker Street's famed Terra Blues club, and following with his Powder Keg Band, Powers played the club for a decade up to the 9-11 attacks. He has received numerous awards throughout his career. In 2004, Powers signed with Baryon Records and released the Onyx Root CD in 2005, which won two W.C. Handy Award nominations. Prodigal Son was released in 2007, garnering three Memphis Blues Music Award nominations, including Song of the Year, and a pre-Grammy nomination, both for the title track. In 2006, Powers received the Eddie Durham Living Legend-Master Guitarist Award at the Durham Centennial Festival in San Marcos, Texas.

Michael Powers was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame as a Master Blues Artist on December 4, 2011.


© December 2011
Photos: Susan O'Kane