By Mike On January 29th, 2015

Lopez could have beat up Boxcar Willie in some alley in East Van, ’cause his songs might have you believin’ he’s had beers with Red Sovine in a Halifax tavern. His charm could have you believing that he even dated one or more of Hank Snow’s daughters. His 12 string picking comes from a man who helped Leadbelly escape the police when a Juke Joint was raided, somewhere in Mississipi. He sings like a man who might have suggested that Woody Guthrie change the lyric to “My land”, when it was originally “Our land”.
These misconceptions could only be true for a man who was raised in the “kitchen parties” of PEI; who journeyed to the streets of Vancouver, learning how to squeeze the accordion, busking for smokes money; moved to Hogtown, Toronto City, finding salvation from the underground, pulling bass strings with the Punks and the Freaks, eventually rising from the pot and cigarette ashes to achieve acclaim singing and picking 6-string guitar with the infamous party that was the jugband Jughead. He never got rich but he played countless songs, toured Canada wide and paid landlord after landlord, driving trucks.

…or for the more serious minded

A native son of Halifax N.S., Michael Phillips, aka Mighty Lopez, is a multi-instrumental singer-songwriter drawing on influences from classic Americana & Canadiana roots. As frontman of the band “Jughead”, who Stompin’ Tom Connors refered to as “one mean little street band”, Lopez co-wrote & co-produced Jughead’s debut CD “Uncorked” (1993) featuring their “Hockey Song”, which was awarded a gold record as part of Attic Records compilation “Contact”.
The follow-up to his debut solo CD “Mighty Lopez” will be released spring 2017. “Tales From the Wood” is a 12-song collection of compositions and collaborations featuring songs written & co-written by M. Phillips, Sean Cotton (of Canadian folk duo “The Undesirables” fame) & George Axon, who not only produced & engineered the recording at his studio in Mississauga, Ont. (Axon Studios), but also added his mandolin, dobro & guitar (see George’s bio below). Other musical guests include Lopez’s big brother Brigham Phillips, long-time musical director for John McDermott & currently The Four Tenors, on the trumpet, Aidan Mason, long time guitarist for Anne Murray, on the fiddle, & Ed Roth one time organist for Rick James.
Now residing in Huntsville, Ont, Lopez is active in the local music scene as a solo, a duo with George (a seasonal resident), & as a bass player for Sean Cotton’s “Doghouse”, & “The Muskoka Connection”, which serves as a backing band for several local original artists such as Pam Millar, Paul Lagendyk & Riley Towns & local groups such as Mad Raven Dinner Theater & The Muskoka Rock Choir. You can hear Lopez regularly on local radio station Hunters Bay Radio.


George Axon-album producer & duo partner


From the time he plugged his electric guitar into his dad’s Ampex reel to reel for more crunch, George Axon has always been interested in how to make music sound better. He spent time at York University’s electronic music lab in the 70’s working with their early modular synths. Time at York included doing experimental gigs in loft spaces in Soho, NYC. A few small album projects for his own fledgling studio came along as well as various playing gigs. Started the 80’s with a job at Daniel Lanois’ Hamilton studio working with acts like Martha and the Muffins and Amos Garrett. It was at Lanois’ Grant Ave. Studio that George met Ed Roth (Rick James’ keyboardist) and they have to this day been producing hundreds of jingles and TV themes at Axon Studios.

After a few years playing traditional music with Lopez, it became clear that Lopez was a gifted songwriter. George and Mike had a few ideas for how to make these songs sound fresh and Lopez’s second album was born. Featuring everything from Bluegrass to Jazz to Irish, the album also has a lot of very talented guests adding their inspired playing! Although very eclectic, the album should find a comfortable home on Roots/Americana/Folk playlists.

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