J. Michael Kearsey began his professional music career in high school bands in Western Massachusetts, continued playing and expanding his genres adding Folk music and Jazz to his American Rock’n’Roll interests as he obtained a history degree at Beloit College. He moved to Boston with college mates Jim and Tom Goodkind, forming Under Milkwood with pre-Cars vocalist, Ric Ocasek. Moving to Portland Oregon in 1972, he was a founding member of UPEPO, a Jazz/Latin/Rock group that performed all over the West Coast for 11 years. He produced the their sole LP, International Ties.
In 1982 he formed the Rockin’ Razorbacks and produced the first of two LP’s, Rockin’ Razorbacks and More Love Less Attitude. In 1989 he joined the Brothers of the Baladi, playing bass, producing 8 of their 12 CD’s. He has also produced three CD’s for Howard Crosby (Bing’s nephew) as well as Blues and Jazz CD”s for Lee Blake, Reunion Jazz Quartet, The Millionaires and his own CD’s: Suite for the Columbia Gorge, Silverthaw and Between the Seasons. Current proceeds from sales of the “Suite” CD are contributed to the Friends of the Columbia Gorge for restoration projects following the Eagle Creek fire of 2017.
As a composer he has provided scores for five OPB programs including, Oregon Portraits I and Oregon Portraits II, OPB’s most successful fund raising programs to date. Offstage, Michael has been an active member of the Portland’s music community as the Vice President of the Portland Music Association, board member of the Portland FolkMusic Society, board member of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame and a 35-year member of NARAS.
As a concert promoter he produced over 300 shows of contemporary Folk Music for his Berkshire Snow Productions that included Ani DiFranco, Greg Brown, John Gorka and Dougie MacLean. He has been a feature writer for the Oregonian, music editor of the Portland Scribe, columnist for Positively Entertainment and the Southeast Examiner and broadcaster on his KBOO weekly Jazz show, “Sound for Sore Ears,” which could be heard every Monday night for 11 years.
He has just released a third personal CD, Between the Seasons.