Capturing The Heart of the Shoals PT 3: Michael J. Ledbetter

Michael J. Ledbetter

Not all heroes wear capes, just as not all musicians are huge stage playing bands. Some artists can be found at some of our favorite places around here sitting on a stool with their guitar and pick just giving us a down-to-earth good night while we relax and that right there is exactly what Michael is. 

Michael is good people. Running into him the few times I have, I’ve been met with a smile and what appears to be a heart of gold. 

The Shoals area is known for its music and souls like Michael keep the blood pumping. Over the holidays I corresponded with him to get us a small interview. 

Please tell me who you are and what you play. Introduce yourself however you’d like. 

M: I’m Michael Ledbetter and I play guitar and sing my original rock music and also cover some songs that I love. 

What do you feel is the best song you’ve ever played and why? 

M: Probably my song “Juliana’s Door” because it’s my mom’s favorite. 

What are your favorite places to play? 

M: I’ve been playing at Swamper’s for years so I love playing there but in the past when my full band was actively playing we had many memorable shows at Side Pocket which is now Brass Monkey and Big Ed’s which is now Ray’s at the Bank and High Ridge Distillery. 

How did Covid-19 change things? 

M: COVID put everything on pause. My gigs were suspended for a full year. Things have mostly returned to normal since the vaccine. 

If you could collaborate with any musicians who would they be and why? 

M: Well Pearl Jam is one of my favorite bands so, of course, that would be amazing. Locally, I’ve always admired the Fiddleworms so that would be great, too. 

If you can have your fans remember one thing about you, what would it be? 

M: That I always play what I genuinely love despite any current trends. 

What got you into playing music? Was there a defining moment?

M:  After my dad passed away when I was 11, I found solace in music and started learning how to play guitar. 

How would you describe the music you typically play?

M:  It’s based in rock. Guitars, bass, drums, keys and horns. There’s also some inevitable country and Americana influences from growing up in the south. 

If you could open a show for any artist who would it be?

M: Pearl Jam, of course. 

Do you sing in the shower? What songs? 

M: Rarely, but it can be fun sometimes. Nothing specific. Just whatever pops into my head.

I absolutely enjoyed getting to know Michael a little bit better and I hope you did too. If you’re curious to know, he has a new album in the works called “1985.” Honestly, I hope to be one of the first to give it a listen and tell everyone what it sounds like! 

If you’re curious to hear some of his sounds and feel like getting into the Christmas spirit you can listen to his Christmas Collaboration that came out just last week!

https://youtu.be/UEEo9eU8jLQ (Christmas Collaboration video)

Staff Writers: Josie Maxwell & Dee Jackson

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