Existential Banjo


Episode 1
Little Pink America
with Corky Siegel &
Sons of the Never Wrong

Episode 2
People Get Ready
with Sue Demel, vocals

Episode 3
MTA (Poor Ol' Charlie)
with Tony Trischka

Episode 4
Suite for Americas:  Dorian
with Nora Barton, cello

Episode 5
Midnight Rider
with Darol Anger. violin

Episode 6
Vincent Black Lightning
@ Chicago City Winery

Episode 7
Hasna ya Layla
with Aziz Samaoui, ngoni

Episode 8
Opus 821
with Geraldo de Oliveira

Episode 9
Gaudete & Sleepers Awake
with David Jennings, vibes

Episode 10
Corrina, Corrina
with Aziz Samaoui, ngoni 

Episode 11
with Erkan Ogur
(Concert in Istanbul)

Episode 12
Last Thing On My Mind
with Tom Paxton, songwriter

New Releases

A-sides CD

Fingerstyle guitar with Darol Anger on violin 


Two New Hal Leonard books



To Play on the Banjo 
(co-written with Greg Cahill)


About Michael J. Miles



When Pete Seeger first heard Michael Miles, he sent a letter to Michael saying that "in all my 70 years this is among the most beautiful recordings I’ve ever is enough to make me want to learn the banjo all over again.”

Michael Miles is one of America’s most inventive clawhammer banjo players. Add guitar, vocals, jazz instruments, orchestras and complex historically-themed theatrical presentations to the mix and, two decades later, Michael has a critically acclaimed catalog of original compositions, stage performances, music CD’s and music instruction books.

Michael's performance credits include the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, Ravinia Festival, Harris Theatre in Chicago, American University in Beirut, Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in Ireland, MIAM Graduate Conservatory of Music in Istanbul,  and the Royal Opera Theatre in Marrakesh.





American Songbag

“The American Songbag is a ragbag of strips, stripes, and streaks of color from nearly all ends of the earth."      Carl Sandburg

In 1927, Carl Sandburg published a collection of songs and wrote that: "These songs come from the hearts and voices of thousands of men and women. They made new songs, they changed old songs, and they carried songs from place to place.”


Drawing on Sandburg’s premise that “songs tell our story” Michael J. Miles has created a decade by decade musical portrait of America in the 20th century.


In this musical documentary for the stage Michael performs songs made famous by some of America's greatest 20th Century singers and songwriters including Billie Holliday, Woody Guthrie, Cole Porter, Buddy Holly, George Gershwin, James Taylor and others. The performance of this one-man stage show features virtuoso guitar, banjo, and vocals.


In addition to music, American Songbag presents a wealth of spoken content that illuminates the fiery politics, rich literature and amusing popular culture of 20th Century America by weaving the words of the day into its dramatic narrative.


American Songbag Menu

While American Songbag generally covers 1900-1975, the production has a unique modular format that allows Michael to customize the performance to emphasize specific periods or historical themes. A few examples of how American Songbag can be tailored:


Historical Periods 

•  Vietnam Era

•  1930’s, 40’s, 50’s or 60’s


Historical Themes 

•  Civil Rights

•  Songs of Protest and Struggle

•  Great American Composers


American Songbag is designed to be staged in a variety of ways, from elegantly simple lighting-only presentations to more lavish productions involving stage dressing.

"Just to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands...let me forget about today until tomorrow."    - Bob Dylan

Jack of Diamonds with audience participation.