Born and raised in Illinois, songwriter Michael Jerling became involved with music while helping to run the campus coffeehouse at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. Now settled in Saratoga Springs, New York, Michael has been a noted artist on the club, college and festival circuits of North America since 1975. His baritone voice is backed up with consummate skill on six & twelve string guitars, harmonica and mandolin, all buoyed by his dry sense of humor.
Michael was a winner of the prestigious "New Folk" competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, and his involvement with the seminal Fast Folk Musical Magazine in New York City led to his song Long Black Wall being included in the Smithsonian Folkways CD celebrating twenty years of Fast Folk.
2018 marked the release of his latest album, Family Recipe, featuring 12 new original songs on his own Fools Hill Music label. Family Recipe reached #8 on the Folk DJ Chart. Halfway Home was released in 2014 and Music Here Tonight, recorded live at the legendary Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY, was released in 2009. Also on Fool's Hill are Crooked Path (2007) and Little Movies (2001). My Evil Twin (1992) and New Suit of Clothes (1994) were released on the Shanachie label, and in 1997 In Another Life came out on the Portland, Oregon based Waterbug Records. Early Jerling (1998), also on Waterbug, is a digitally remastered compilation of selected cuts from his self released LPs On Top of Fool's Hill (1981), and Blue Heartland (1988).
Through all of these recordings and in his live performances, Michael displays his first- rate lyrical sense and impressive musicianship - borrowing from blues, rock, country and R&B. A keen student of the good and ghastly in American life, Michael weaves themes like a novelist, evoking our shortcomings and dreams without yielding to cynicism or sentimentality. Often praised as a "songwriter's songwriter" who composes in styles influenced by the wealth of American music, he has been characterized as an artist who performs his "extraordinary songs with the uncommon ability to deliver them to an audience with power and grace".
"Stronger than new rope... especially recommended to fans of Gorka, Greg Brown, Dave Alvin or any other real smart people who make real good music." - Icon, Iowa City
"He's got the literate humor and eclectic taste of Lyle Lovett...yet a skewed vision all his own." - Request Magazine
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