Destined to become John Lee Hooker's bandleader and lead guitarist - and a guitar hero in his own right - Michael Osborn and the blues first made each other's acquaintance when Michael was a young teen in the mid-1960s. Friends with eventual blues greats Robben and Patrick Ford, Michael took up the bass guitar and played with the Ford brothers in blues, rhythm & blues and soul bands from 1967 through 1969.
After Mike switched to rhythm guitar in 1970, he became a founding member of the famous Charles Ford Band, which featured Gary Smith on harmonica and Lou Bottini on bass guitar, in addition to Robben on lead guitar and Patrick on drums.
In the '70s, Mike recorded with the Charles Ford Band and Charlie Musselwhite, and built his chops in various blues bands with Gary Smith, Mark Ford, Mixed Nuts (featuring Bonnie Raitt's brother, David Raitt) and occasional Charles Ford Band reunions.
In June of 1981 Michael became lead guitarist for blues legend John Lee Hooker, and toured all over North America, Europe, Japan and Brazil with John Lee for more than a dozen years. During this time Mike backed such stars as Robert Cray, Elvin Bishop, Brownie McGee, Willie Dixon, James Cotton and Charlie Musselwhite. Mike has also shared stages with such notables as Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Johnson, Albert Collins, Ry Cooder, Carlos Santana, John Hammond, Etta James, Curtis Salgado, and The Nighthawks.
Mike has played - with John Lee Hooker and with other bands, including his own - at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, The Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, The North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Newport Folk Festival, The Hammersmith Odeon in London and The Monterey Jazz & Blues Festivals.
Mike released his first solo recording in 1988, "Cold Hearted Girl"; his second release "A Case For The Blues," came out in 1993 and "A Background In The Blues," in June of 1996. All three of his solo efforts were released by Blue Rock'It Records.
Since he left John Lee Hooker's Coast to Coast Blues Band, Mike occasionally fronts his own band and has toured with blues singing sensation Sista Monica and the Blue Rock'It Blues Revue. He's been a headliner at the Mountain Winery Summer Series Blues Festival; has toured Europe several times, playing festivals and clubs throughout, including Djurs Bluesland Festival in Denmark, the Tiel Blues Festival in the Netherlands and the 1997 Notodden Blues Festival in Norway. He has toured Western Canada, the Pacific Northwest and various Northern California venues, including the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Sacramento Blues Festival.
After moving to Portland a few years ago, Mike hooked up with Bill Rhoades & the Party Kings. Mike's new CD, "What Goes Around," is on his own label, Checkerboard Records. The album features John Moore on drums, Tom Szell on bass, D.K. Stewart on piano, harmonica ace Bill Rhoades and an old friend from Ukiah, California on guitar.