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Mike Lawson has recorded and/or performed alongside former members of Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna, The Tubes, Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac, Tower of Power, Jerry Garcia Band, and artists including Vassar Clements, Narada Michael Walden, Bobby Cochran, Will Kimbrough, Eugene Chadbourne, Robb Wasserman and more. His 1998 album, Vol 1. Ticket to Fly (Sumertone Records) featured performances by mentor Merl Saunders, Jorma Kaukonen, Bob Welch, Joe Louis Walker, Dennis Robbins and other friends.
His performing and production was delayed in the late 90s after Lawson was compelled to dive into understanding and managing the needs of his daughter, Kelly, diagnosed on the autism spectrum around the time “Ticket to Fly” released, This greatly limited his ability to tour and perform to mainly regional shows around the San Francisco Bay Area, with occasional appearances in New York, Nashville, Los Angeles and a few other cities here and there.
He continued songwriting, and launched a book, video, and music industry periodical publishing company focused on audio production and music business, which allowed him to stay close to home and be a dad. During that time, he was still putting together sessions, writing new songs, and frequently performing with and/or opening for the late Merl Saunders in Northern California.
In 2019, he released two singles, the first to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the recording, a cover of the Beatles" “Why Don"t We Do It in the Road? featuring Vince Welnick, recorded in San Francisco in 1999, and “Mystery Train” featuring Vassar Clements on fiddle, recorded at Nashville"s RCA Studio B in 1998. In what he calls his “tabula rasa moment,” these songs and his writing demos from the previous decades were released on Mike Lawson & Friends Vol 2. - Some Songs in the Key of Poe,” and Vol 3. - Outtakes and Oddities, each released in 2019.
In 2020, Mike Lawson released six singles of covers he loves, as Side A/B "digital 45s" on April 10, 15, 20. His next "& Friends"album, "Evidence of Apparitions" released in May 2020. Two dozen additional musicians contributed.
Since releasing “Evidence,” Mike also released new singles “Your Life or My Money” about the attitudes and politicization of a global pandemic by skeptics, anti-vaxxers, and well, some just plain selfish people.
On June 6, 2020 he teamed up again with Michael Cleveland and released the classic Rev. Gary Davis song, “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” in his own arrangement, to express his losses of friends and family, and the massive deaths facing the world from the virus.
Mike Lawson is also a journalist, editor, author and publisher of music technology training and education publicationsfor musicians and educators. He published over 200 titles for MixBooks, artistpro, Thomson Learning/Cengage, Thomas Nelson, Hal Leonard, and Alfred Music. He sold artistpro"s catalog to Thomson in 2004. His acquisitions include best-selling works by Quincy Jones, Ken Scott, Bobby Owsinski, and the ears behind Steely Dan, Roger Nichols. He is co-author of multiple tech titles, wrote “Teach Yourself GarageBand” and compiled/edited “The Roger Nichols Recording Method.”
He served six years on the board of directors for the Technical Excellence and Creativity Awards (TEC Foundation/TEC Awards) until folded into the NAMM Foundation. Over his 20 plys years as a voting member, he served10 years on the board of governors for San Francisco"schapter of The Recording Academy, holding leadership offices, served as a national trustee for the Grammy Awards, on the Awards and Nominations Committee and Finance Committee. Since 2011, he is executive director of the Technology in Music Education (TI:ME). He is editor-in-chief of School Band & Orchestra and Choral Director magazines. He is associate editor of Musical Merchandise Review magazine.
Lawson lives outside of Nashville, TN with what some have called an “excessive amount of guitar." He has 3 adult children, Zach, Kelly, and Isaac, and married Shannon Kebschull March 30, 2019. An active songwriter and musician, he performs over 40 shows a year on his own and in tribute to Merl Saunders and Jerry Garcia at clubs/festivals with Hooteroll?”
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