Now living in Chicago, where he’s a member of the Blues Hall of Fame, the seven-time, Grammy-elect musician and his band, (always smiling) drummer Tony Berkman and bassist Denis Kozlowski, spent the evening in the iconic, intimate setting of the Dream reaching out to the audience.
“It was great, fantastic, it was a really wonderful crowd, it was the first time in a venue like that and having such a great crowd, you can’t beat that with a stick, man,” said Charles after the show.
Growing up in Melbourne, it was his dad who taught him his first chords, which would eventually lead him down the musical path which he still treads.
According to Charles, music is simply “an extension of me and who I am.”
The audience also got an added bonus when harmonica player Gerry Pearson, in his traditional top hat, joined his longtime friend on stage.
“I’m a Michael Charles groupie, I guess,” joked Pearson, who has his own local band, the Blueshounds. “Playing with Michael, he’s the ultimate professional, it’s very exciting and fun and when I see him smile at me I know I’m doing something right and when I see him frown, which is very rare, I know when to get out.”
The pair first met at an Edmonton club, at an afternoon jam session before one of Charles’ shows.
“When I found out he was coming I messaged him and asked if I could do one song with him, he never replied,” recalled Pearson. “Finally the week before I messaged him again then he finally answered me and said ‘yeah I’ll do one song with you.’ That was about 15 years ago; he’s like a brother. When I met him that day it was like we were family.”
This was Charles’ first visit to Penticton but very likely won’t be his last.
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