Michael Weston King hails from the English coastal town of Southport, 20 miles north of Liverpool, though it could be said he is a victim of geography.
He cut his teeth in bands on the fringes of the Liverpool post punk, new wave and power pop scene of the early 80’s until he discovered a deep-rooted love of Country and American folk music along with the jangle and twang of bands such as REM Green On Red and the new country sounds of Dwight Yoakham and Lye Lovett.
Aiming to try and fuse the Texan songwriting style of the likes of John Prine and Guy Clarke with the burgeoning No Depression sound of Uncle Tupelo and The Jayhawks he formed The Good Sons, who, from 1992-1999, made 4 critically acclaimed albums recording for Glitterhouse Records in Europe and Watermelon Records in Austin, Texas. They toured with, amongst many others, Joe Ely, Steve Earle, Joe Henry and Son Volt.
During this time Michael also met, toured and collaborated with Townes Van Zandt. The great songwriter who was to prove something of a mentor to him. Townes duetted with Michael on the bands debut album Singing The Glory Down and later recording Michael’s song Riding The Range.
By album 3 a deal with Sire Records was in the offing but a mix of mis-management, bad luck and near fatal car crash put paid to that and they split in 1999.
“The British band that played alt. country before anyone knew what the hell it was, and who must rate as England’s very own Uncle Tupelo.”
After the split Michael went solo and for the next 10 years became a fully fledged troubadour travelling all over the world. Hundreds of shows and tours with the likes of Nick Cave, John Cale, Roger McGuinn, Guy Clark, America, Nils Lofgren, Arlo Guthrie, Steve Forbert. He released 5 studio albums, 3 live albums and a career retrospective DVD, The Crowning Story. Collaborating in the studio and on stage with the likes of Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen, Ron Sexsmith, Peter Case, John Doe, and Jackie Leven.
“Michael Weston King has a voice part Nashville balladeer and part Alt Country hero………a cross between Nick Cave and Rodney Crowell.”
“Like Tim Hardin, Phil Ochs or Townes van Zandt, King transmutes squalor and self-laceration into pure gold.”
In 2010 he released the protest album, “I Didn’t Raise My Boy To Be Soldier” which led to appearances at political rallies, marches, protest festivals, and human rights events in the UK, Germany, Scandinavia, and also his first ever concerts in China.
He also curated a fund-raising album for the British newspaper The Morning Star entitled ‘We’re All In It Together’, featuring 33 of Britain’s finest musicians and writers.
“I Didn’t Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier wields a potent eternal truth. This is music of intelligent dissidence.”
“Hey Ma, Im Coming Home is simply one of the best protest songs ever written.”
PENNY BLACK MUSIC (9/10)
October 2011 saw another musical departure, with the release of an album of pure country duets, recorded with his wife, the singer, songwriter and former dancer Lou Dalgleish, under the name of My Darling Clementine.
Entitled How Do You Plead? their debut took the Country & Americana world by storm. It garnered incredible critical acclaim, the debut single, “100,000 Words” became a BBC Radio 2 hit, while the album was hailed by Country Music People as the “best British country record ever!” and both The New York Daily News and American Songwriter placing it in their albums of the year in the USA
Consequently the next 9 years saw Michael devote most of his musical time to My Darling Clementine, with the release of 2 more successful studio albums (The Reconciliation 2013 and Still Testifying 2017) and also a song and story stage-play/album/audio book in collaboration with best selling crime writer Mark Billingham entitled The Other Half. The show toured from 2015 to 2017, including a run at The Edinburgh Festival. The album of the same name featured guest appearances from Graham Parker, The Brodsky Quartet and one of Britain’s finest actors, David Morrissey.
In 2019 Michael and Lou teamed up with Steve Nieve (The Attractions, The Imposters) to record on an album reinterpreting the songs of Elvis Costello. Country Darkness was released over a series of three 12 inch vinyl EP’s between Oct 2019 – October 2020, with the complete album of all 13 songs released in November 2020. Covid 19 put paid to a tour with Steve but the album was hugely acclaimed, with one renowned writer even hailing some of these interpretations as the definitive versions.
“They make the songs feel like they’ve always been duets”
BERNARD ZUEL, SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
“Costello’s songs lend themselves perfectly to the stylings of our greatest duo”
COUNTRY MUSIC PEOPLE ****4/5
“They develop Costello’s original work taking it to new places. Their vocal delivery takes ownership of these songs”
“Costello’s songs, King and Dalgleish’s voices, Nieve’s keys… it’s a perfect fit”
This brings us to 2021, the pandemic year, when touring musicians became redundant, and recording or streaming was the only option. Michael headed for rural Wales and a small studio run by multi-instrumentalist Clovis Phillips to make his first solo album in 10 years. Entitled The Struggle it is a pure singer songwriter album, rooted in the late 60’s / early 70’s and inspired by artists and writers such as Mickey Newbury, Jesse Winchester, John Prine, Bobby Charles, Jim Ford, and early Van Morrison. It will be released in March 2022 via Cherry Red Records.
As a songwriter, over 60 different artists have recorded Michael’s songs including American folk music icon Carolyn Hester and the aforementioned Townes Van Zandt, while a number of his songs have also been used in TV shows.
The songbook, Beautiful Lies, was published in 2005 and a forthcoming book of lyrics, 100,000 Words, will be published in the near future.
For further information or to arrange an interview contact; firstname.lastname@example.org