Michael McLaughlin is the son of a classically trained flutist, he was listening to Bach, Beethoven, Schubert and Mozart while growing up in a university town of the midwest, He played drums in garage bands during junior high and high school, and played in a southern rock band influenced by the Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, Marshall Tucker and the Chicago blues of Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf after High school.

Music took a back seat to making a living after a move to Rochester, N.Y., in the late 70s. After a work accident caused him to lose 90 percent of the use of his right hand, he decided to try playing guitar, taping a pick to his thumb to keep it in place. He developed a picking and strumming style that let him play and write his own songs.

In the late 90s, Mike met local songwriter Chuck Abel and started playing drums for his band Corazon in local coffee houses and small festivals. The band was influenced by blues, swing, latin, contra and Afro-pop.  Playing with Chuck kindled an interest in African and Middle Eastern beats that reminded him of the two years his family lived in Ethiopia when he was 8, 9, and 10 years old.   Mike worked on his own songs while working fulltime as an engineer and playing lead guitar for a local folk duet (the Webers) through several different personnel arrangements including a pop cover band. 

By 2007 Mike had accumulated enough material to start fronting his own gigs and set out to find musicians with an interest in creating a world music groove to put behind some of his original songs.  During that time he bought a bouzouki and started to apply bouzouki riffs to original Middle Eastern beats.    Mike currently is working on a second CD that features bouzouki on several tunes that is due for release the summer 2015.  Mike is also honing his bouzouki playing with the Irish band The Dungarees.

Best Busker May 7th 6-8pm, East Ave Rochester

"Show on Monroe" busking May 30, 12-3 in front of Dogtown on Monroe Ave.

With The Dungarees

Finger Lakes Irish Festival, May 16th 11:30 am main Stage

Sheridan's Irish Pub May 29th, 7:00-10:00 PM. 1551 Mt. Hope Ave, Rochester






Mike playing Haven Lane, Tango Cafe Rochester, May 2013

When I wake in the morning gonna pack my bag and go
Down to the station Buy a ticket to mexico
I’m gonna ride that southbound train
To a place where I belong
Sit there in the café’s at night  Play music all night long

Goin’ down to the ocean drop my burden in the sand
Walk into the water to the promised land
I will rise like the phoenix as I swim from the shore
See my spirit far above me as I reach the other shore

If I could have seen the future
If I’d known what was to come
First time that I laid eyes on you 
I’d have turned around and run
Yes, I know there’s nothing out there
That can wash away my pain
I feel the cold shoot thru me  No I won’t go back again

Wish you hadn’t gone and left me
For that New York City man
Now I’m runnin for my life
With your blood stainin’ my hands
I’m runnin headin south  To find a place where I can hide
Where the sun shines in the morning  
Across the blood red tide


I watch as a single tear  Trickles down your face
I wish I could wipe away The pain you embrace
On the days that I remember
The love that we once knew
Darkness fills my heart When I remember you weren’t true

If I could leave this trail of Tears…………

For betrayal I have known
Is there a lie that I have told?
For every loss, for every heartache
For what must I atone?
Is this pain is universal?
Known to every human face
For every lie, for every fear
Is there truth that I must face?

You watch as a single tear
Trickles down my face
I wish you could wipe away The pain that I embrace
At night I’ll wage my war
With my senseless love of pain
But through the power of forgiveness

I will be whole again

As I look at your face, I know the hurt that you feel
I search for a trace in your eyes you will heal 
You know in your heart it’s not about him
I know your not blind but you wont see the truth          

Look to your life, you wait for tomorrow
You’re wasting today when you wallow in sorrow
Live your life, it’s your life to lose
Find the courage to choose
You’ve got nothing left to lose

I’ve talked too much trash, I’ve said too much truth
about why I cant look, at the years of my youth
If you wont concede, the moment we shared
you leave me no choice, but to pretend I don’t care

I confessed my past, to help cut you free
from the chains of your life, the chains you wont see
If our friendship is lost, but you find your way

then its worth the cost, to just walk away

She loves to give more than receive
She may be easy to deceive
She knows that above all else
She believes, She believes in love
She believes, She believes in love

When she gives her love to you
You can swear you’ll always be true
If you’re not there’s someone else
Who can do what you can’t do
Who can do what you can’t do

But when she cries
when she cries
when she cries
The angels cry too

God knows that she can aggravate
She’s never on time she’s always late
She doesn’t know how to hate
And she’ll always believe in love
she’ll always believe in love

If in time you have to leave
Be prepared to help her grieve
Because in the end there is no reprieve
From the pain of leaving her love
Oh the pain of leaving her love
Oh the pain of leaving her love

I need to know where you’ve been
I need to know all your thoughts
I need to know how you feel
So I can feel OK

If I knew the words to dry your tears
If I knew the words to change your heart
If I knew the words to calm your fears
Could we be OK

No aching sadness or heartfelt grief
No warm lament No quiet tears
Just manic fever and no release
Just manic fever and no release

If I could accept you as you are
could you accept me as I am?
Can we accept all as it is
Then we can be OK

Woke up this morning at 6:45
I was feeling pretty good  was glad to be alive
My baby came down at 6:48
By the time I got to work I was 40 minutes late
She talked and talked but she had nothing to say

Talk and talk she had nothing to say
Talk and talk I don’t listen anyway
Talk and talk I put my hands over my ears
Talk and talk you bring me to tears
Talk and talk, you got nothing to say

When I got to work my boss said sit down
I gotta tell ya bout al these problems we found
He sat back in his chair and he looked me in the eye
By the time he was done talking, I thought I would die
He Talked and talked, and he had nothing to say

Well I’m a quiet man and I don’t have much to say
I don’t understand why people today
Talk about their neighbors and talk about their friends
I don’t know why they do it just wish that it would end
They talk and talk-they got nothing to say.

The rain poors down for the third time today
I look at the sky, see the cold dull grey
I look around the room my blood feels chill
The ghosts from my past -they dance here still
The ghosts from my past are dancing still

I came here alone a few years ago
and we argued for days, over what I don’t know
I know it’s not your fault, you weren’t even here
but your presence was everywhere
I felt your presence everywhere

They are dancing, They go dancing round
They are waltzing round and round this room
They are dancing, They go dancing
To the memory of a forgotten tune

The time will come soon
when you will be gone
and I hope you find peace well deserved
But I know that for me my struggle begins

My struggle begins as yours ends

When you walked in the door
you were battered and bruised
The light was gone from your eyes
From the ache in your heart
to the sole of your shoes
The magic in your life had died.

Come with me, walk with me
come see the truth
come see your life as it stands
let go your fear, embrace the hope
its all a part of the plan   

From a garden of pain where you withered and shrank
From the slash and burn in your mind
The ashes of hate and the torrent of tears
Will nourish the garden you’ll find

As you leave behind the years of your youth
Fear wont enslave your heart
And the black place inside will no longer demand

A life that keeps falling apart

I once knew a woman
my love of her was true
but time stole the pleasure
there was nothing I could do

I once knew a woman
I cared for her it's true
but she would not know me
didn't care what I would do

Turn around and around
The wheel of life turns around
Turn around and around
the wheel of life will  carry me down

Desire is a cunning force
it makes me feel alive
but drives me mad and in the end
I wish that I could die.

Darkness is my waking sight
darkness thru the day
darkness fills my heart and soul
and dulls the light of day

My eyes are open to the truth
but my heart is broken down
darkness will bring me peace
when I'm 6 feet underground        

open eyes but cannot see
I strain to listen but do not hear
Reach to touch but shake in fear
What lies beyond I hold so dear

I strain to listen beyond the din
Beyond the endless noise where in
My mind is quiet and silence breathes
I reach for one and my heart sings

To toil within        and see the proof
Perception shatters on the rock of truth
We wander aimless far and wide
ourselves in all we come to find

Your voice is strong, but words are cheap. 
They know not the rapture deep
Within the heart when silence rings
Proclaims the hope that dawn will bring

The veil is dark and seals our fate
inflicted blindness no changing state
Recurrent Failing, recurring hate
Till lesson learned does rest await.

To toil within and see the proof
Perception shatters   on the rock of truth
We wander aimless    far and wide
ourselves in all we come to find

  • At Kaotic Studios
  • Playing with Gerard Weber and Ross Bracco
  • At Monroe Village Farmers Market with Ross Brown and Colin Hansford
  • With MOJA at Towpath Cafe, Fairport
  • In Williamson
  • In Williamson
  • In Williamson
  • In Williamson
  • In Williamson
  • In Williamson
  • At a wedding
  • Playing Bouzouki at Boulder Cafe
  • At MVFM
  • At MVFM
  • With his firsrt Bouzouki