Mike Farris On A First Gig Playing a Drug Dealer’s “Club” and the Future of Live Music

February 17, 2015

Tell us about your tour vehicle.

We fly, rent vehicles, tour vans, etc so we don’t have maintenance costs and all that goes into owning a vehicle. However, travel with a 9pc band can be expensive, as you can imagine.

How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?

Eating healthy on the road is difficult when you are actually traveling. Once you make it to the town you’re playing it’s normally not hard to find decent local food. We all use various apps and social media to help us find the good stuff.

How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?

I don’t change strings that often and I rarely break a string so it’s not an issue; And I get free strings through Fender.

Where do you rehearse?

We don’t rehearse- it costs too much. Luckily, my band is extremely talented. It’s Nashville, after all….

What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?

Gypsy Lullaby- “I didn’t see you in my dreams last night..sleep came all too easy. And so as I awoke alone, I knew I’d found sanctuary…in a cemetery in my mind where I lay my thoughts of you to rest.”

Describe your first gig.

At an infamous Nashville drug dealer’s “club”. Maybe 10 people there. It was everything you could wish for in a maiden voyage…

What was your last day job? Did you have a favorite day job?

I play music. It’s all I’ve ever done.

How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?

Ticket prices to a show haven’t changed since I started 20 years ago. I honestly don’t see it changing. Music is becoming less and less of an event; less special. It’s everywhere we go, all day every day. If anything, the price of admission will probably go down, unless you’re McCartney. Recorded music already is nearly worthless.

What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?

I would have loved to have been clean and sober and fully engaged in my craft. That would have been a great benefit! 🙂

As a born and bred southerner, Mike Farris’ unique style combines the best elements of blues, rock and soul. His interpretations of traditional New Orleans Gospel mixed with a dash of Stax and Motown leave audiences feeling excited, delighted and loved. He has won the Americana Music Association’s Award for new & emerging artist in 2008 as well as the Gospel Music Association’s 2009 Award for Best Traditional Gospel album of the year. In 2010 he gathered a bunch of Nashville’s finest musicians, including Kenny Vaughan, Sam Bush and many more, to record an ep called The Night The Cumberland Came Alive to benefit victims of the 1,000 year flood that hit Middle Tennessee that May. With his power house band, The Roseland Rhythm Revue, he has wowed audiences all over the world.

In September 2014 Farris released the critically acclaimed Shine For All The People, which was recently recognized with a Grammy Award for Best Roots Gospel Album.  You can find him online and on the road.


  • LaFayette Bronston

    Mike is the best and finest Musician I’ve ever met

  • Leann Hecht

    I agree with you Lafayette. Been to many music festivals, all access for most, seen, heard & respected soooo many Artist. Mike Farris by far is in my top 5. My experience is one I’ll never forget. Being fortunate enough to see him perform was a blessing of it’s own. Such a humble man that doesn’t put himself above us but with us and that means so much to us that love what this guy shares with us. He makes playing the guitar look easy but it’s a extension of his body along with his voice. He knows his purpose today and I am greatful to say I am a huge fan of Mike Farris