In the Nugget News. By Jim Cornelius.
Mike Biggers will be on stage three times at this year’s Sisters Folk Festival — once with his band The Anvil Blasters and twice as a solo artist.
It’s an opportunity for Biggers to showcase the songs on his new release, “Smoke Signals In A Hurricane.”
“It’ll be fun to play some of those tunes and stick the CD out there and see what happens,” he told The Nugget. “Some of the songs I’ve had for three or four years; a couple I wrote while doing this project.”
Biggers has been a musician since the age of 11, when he first picked up the guitar.
“I probably took lessons for a year, and kind of self-taught from there,” he said.
He played in a variety of bands over the years in California, which meant his education was wide and varied.
“I was able to learn everything from a country style to Black Sabbath barre chords,” he said.
He and his then-bandmate Gayle Dowling recorded a gospel CD and needed material.
“That’s how I seriously started writing,” he said.
Biggers’ songs range from the poignant to the humorous; some are personal, some tell a story from history.
“Most of the songs are drawn from pretty much what everybody draws from: personal experience and observation – what I see in others,” he said. “There’s gotta be some base in truth. I can’t just make up a story.”
Biggers has been a key player in songwriting circles in Central Oregon, serving as president of the Central Oregon Songwriters Association (COSA) and participating in the Sisters Folk Festival’s songwriting academy at Caldera.
The songwriter cites Guy Clark and Russell Smith as major influences, along with the sound of The Amazing Rhythym Aces.
“I try to listen to a lot of female writers,” he noted, citing in particular Diane Ziegler and Terri Hendrix, whom he praises for the wide diversity of styles she taps in her writing.
Biggers himself hits on a wide range of styles and themes in “Smoke Signals.” There’s also a variety of players involved.
“There’s 20 people playing on this,” he said. “Some of the players are local; some of the folks are people I’ve known for years,” he said.
The CD was recorded at Musi-tech Studios in Redmond with Matt Engle. The cover art was done by Dennis McGregor, with photography and graphics by Lynn Woodward.
“Smoke Signals In A Hurricane” is available at Paulina Springs Books in Sisters.