Michael L. Castle

Castle Arts / Shiva Moon : Visual, Aural, and Oral Environments


  Michael L. Castle's Rootstock & Vine Radio Show 
  "Exploring the Roots of American Music"
  ( The most powerful cultural force on the planet! )

  Saturday evenings 5pm to 7pm PST(Pacific Standard Time)
  KSVY 91.3 FM, Sonoma, California, U.S.A. 

  ( Streaming on the World Wide Web at:  http://sonomasunfm.com/  )









 I was born in Portland, Oregon. Two weeks later I was on a train with a suitcase for a cradle,
headed for California. I never stopped movin' after that. By the time I was about twelve years
old I had crossed the country from the west coast to the Midwest four or five times, a couple
of those times by myself. Greyhound buses, trains, and old beat up cars were where I grew
up. A rolling stone gathers no moss and friends were a luxury I didn't have. You learn to be
self sufficient early on and I did. In my late teens I hit the road again, this time with a guitar.
It was the beginning of the folk music revival that was sweeping America, and it swept me up
big time. I thought I was going to be a classical guitarist, but then I heard Bob Dylan and that
was the end of my classical period. Dylan led me to Woody, and Cisco, and Leadbelly, and
eventually to the great breadth and depth of American folk music, and I took to it like a fish to

All of a sudden all those people and songs and stories I had picked in my travels from a very
early age came together and I knew what I was born to do, and music became my life. My step-
grandfather, who raised me more than anyone else, was an Ozark fiddler who used to keep
rattlesnake rattles inside his fiddle 'cause he said it gave it that high lonesome tone. My
grandfather was a well known vaudeville musician who played several instruments. My mother
was a singer, so I guess it was always in my blood to become a rambling troubadour.

I traveled around the country looking up many of my early idols. I hung out with Lightnin'
Hopkins in his home in Houston, traveled down south with 9-String Big Joe Williams, was
the "best lead boy I ever had" according to Sleepy John Estes, and spent time with Rev.Gary
Davis in his home in Jamaica, Queens, NY. Otis Rush taught my first electric blues riffs, and I
had the great good fortune to be in Chicago when I first started playing guitar, so I met and knew
most of the great Chicago Bluesmen. Like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Junior Wells, Otis, and
Robert Nighthawk. I learned a great deal from these folks and countless other lesser-known, and
unknown musicians, and it was more than their music. I learned a way of life that has been my
path ever since.

Through my performances, lectures, and these days through my radio shows, I am trying to
give back some of the rich experiences that I've been truly blessed to have had. So lets take
a trip down some ghost highways and follow the threads of the most powerful cultural force in the
world today: American Roots Music.!

Michael L. Castle
Sonoma, California 2005


                      Michael L. Castle   Sonoma, California    May 29, 2010