Artist Profile: Michael Waugh

Michael’s albums: perfect for a relaxed evening around a campfire, catching up with friends … or for any other time of the day or night, when a mellow mood is sought.

We first met Michael Waugh three years ago, when he was our designated muso to billet for our local Folkie. An established teacher of media and drama, in 2017 he was embarking on his own musical career (as opposed to his students’), playing the songs from his first album.

Two years later he returned to our Folkie (not as our billet that year). Delighted to see him on the program I channelled my inner groupie and timetabled my Festival so as to catch his shows. While he was performing inside the hall, his wife Narelle was outside in the cold fresh air: perched around an upended wine cask which served as a table she was managing CD sales. After the show Michael did what all gracious musicians do, talking with his audience and signing CDs on request. What struck me was the warmth with which he responded to each and every person who approached him, and his genuine delight (almost surprise) in response to the many compliments flooding his way. The world is made brighter, humanity made more humane, for unpretentious souls like Michael!

So who is Michael Waugh? And does he deserve my accolades?

Michael greets people with a handshake and, if you’re lucky to have met him more than once, a big hug that sends warmth through your entire body. His everpresent smile brightens everyone’s day, even if you’re seeing him from afar. And he is easy to spot in a crowd, in his trademark red flanelette shirt.

His quiet, down-to-earth persona and (there’s that word again!) warmth are woven into his heartfelt tunes. In true troubadour style, this singer-songwriter captures an audience with the power of his acoustic guitar and his voice alone. The more recent addition of select back-up musicians strengthen the texture of the magical notes he weaves. His songs, in traditional singer-songwriter style, reflect his life and the things he holds dear. The Australian English he uses brings a smile to my face, so quintessentially does he capture the Aussie spirit. Being around my age he also portrays many of my childhood and adolescent memories, which are lovely to relive.

Michael’s music provides home comfort, which is always welcome in this increasingly monocultural global world which moves ever faster and less humanely, heightening its bland conformity. His ballads strike my heart and speak to me from a place of vulnerability: they invite me to enter the spaces within me where it’s okay to be a bit broken because, to paraphrase Leonard Cohen, everyone has cracks, it’s how the light gets in. I am deeply moved, and a couple of tears have been known to roll down my cheek under cover of the darkened hall.

During the Covid shutdown Michael has participated in local concerts streamed online with live performances to the virtual audiences. Like many artists he has continued to make and play music, performing in Covid-acceptable ways.

So yes, he is deserving of my accolades: I listen to his music and I come out changed. We are all entitled to pause life and take a moment to get back in touch with our inner self, to reposition ourselves and come out stronger. Michael Waugh’s music is the perfect vehicle for this soul-healing.

His website is http://www.michaelwaugh.com.au/

and his Facebook page is https://m.facebook.com/michaelwaughfm/

Do yourself a favour and check out this hand sown, home grown* musician!

*Hand Sown, Home Grown is borrowed from the title of Linda Rondstadt’s first album, released in 1969. Michael was not born when it was released… and yet its title sums him up!

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