For the past 30 years Michael Weston King has toured the world as a musician, singer and songwriter. From back street Bootle bars to Las Vegas stages, from folk clubs in Hong Kong to protest festivals in Berlin, Texan honky tonks to Italian opera houses, his songs have taken him to places he would never have imagined going to, and some he wished he hadn’t.
Through his work and travel he has met and collaborated with some of the leading lights in music, literature and theatre of the past 40 years. He has never been a diary keeper – a look back over 20 years of his diaries just shows a series of notes, things to do, gigs to play, places to be but also always lyrics. His songs are his diary.
The one constant throughout his adult years have been the songs, that have documented his journey, his travels, his life. Always a note book in hand, or a Dictaphone inside his jacket pocket, a wallet full of receipts and train tickets with scrawls on, fag packets full of scribbles, ideas and lines that maybe are the start of a new song.
100,000 Words is the story so far, a songwriter’s life’s work, MWK’s first ever collection of lyrics. Each song is individually introduced giving the background story behind it, not an explanation – we need to let the mystery be – but what inspired it to be written, why it was written, what was the influence. For the guitars players amongst you, each song also includes chords and tunings while the main opening introduction to the book is a personal insight into his career as a singer, songwriter, collaborator, working musician and world traveled troubadour.
Here are just some of the people Michael has collaborated with; Townes Van Zandt, Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen, Jackie Leven, Ron Sexsmith, John Doe, Peter Case, Graham Parker, Kinky Friedman, Ian McNabb, Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham, David Morrissey, Carolyn Hester, Andy White, Rab Noakes, Eric Taylor, Tom Ovans, Mick Thomas, Steve Wynn.
Spending the vast majority of his adult life on the road has seen him tour and perform with Nick Cave, John Cale, Roger McGuinn, Steve Earle, Nick Lowe, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Nils Lofgren, Arlo Guthrie, America, Steve Forbert, Joe Ely, Giant Sand, Los Lobos, Son Volt, Janis Ian, Terry Allen, Joe Henry, Blue Rodeo, Maria McKee, Boo Hewerdine, Johnny Dowd, The Handsome Family, Susanne Sondfor, Mark Olsen, among many others.
Having seen the likes of good friends and great artists such as Townes Van Zandt, and Jackie Leven leave us before a book containing all their collected writings came to pass, MWK sets out to ensure his life time as ‘a slave to the song’ does not go unrecorded by presenting this, his first ever complete collection of lyrics.