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Mike Westhues

(January 22, 1949 - February 17, 2013)

Mike Westhues' gritty vocals and wry songwriting, has graced club and festival stages from Helsinki Finland to the Aleutian Islands! Mike is one of the most diverse proponents of the term, "In it for the long haul". You see, music has been his sole occupation for the past 40 years.

After cutting his teeth in the teenage pop world as a "High School Wanna Be Rock Star", he gravitated to college, studying psychology, and playing any coffeehouse that would have him. In 1970, Mike began a vagabond period of his life, hitch-hiking throughout the South and East Coast, performing in the streets, tiny bars, and, of course, more coffeehouses. However, in 1971, he decided it was time to see more of the world. So, armed with a backpack, sleeping bag, guitar, and $40 in his pocket, he boarded a plane to Helsinki, Finland.

photo of Mike

Once there, Mike quickly fell into the Helsinki music scene. It was there that he began his songwriter career in earnest. Within a year, he had a record deal with EMI, and released his first L.P., "New Morning Train", playing solo shows and band shows all over Finland. However, the "Wanderlust Bug" bit him again, and he moved to Uppsala Sweden for two years. Once there, he met fellow american expatriate and guitarist, Alan Camden. Together, they formed the infamous "Yellow Dog Band" touring Sweden for two years. However, "The Bug" bit him again, and he was off to London for a short time before returning to Helsinki.

Once back in Finland, Mike soon signed a deal with the legendary "Love Records" label, recording "A Man Name 'A Jones", "Good-Bye Rosalita", and "Jim, Mike and the Leadswingers". He also was in high demand as a songwriter for various other Finnish artists, writing many songs for "Vanha Isanta"(Hi-Hat Records), "Bamboo"(EMI), and many more. During this period, he continued to tour throughout Scandinavia, Holland, and Germany.

By the end of the '70's, it was time to come home. So, along with his Finnish wife and son, he returned to the USA, making Indianapolis, Indiana his home. Soon he was back on the road touring across the country (Including Alaska on five occasions), Canada, and of course his beloved Finland. And yes, Mike has continued his recording career, releasing three critically acclaimed C.D.'s on the RFD label, "Frozen Hay", "Streetlight Reflections", and "See Your Eyes".

In 2003, Mike went back to the studio to record a new, all acoustic CD, "Chasing A Dream". However, an old habit crept back (Wanderlust Again), and Mike decided to move back to Finland after 25 years. "Chasing A Dream" was put on the shelf as Mike and renowned Finnish roots music producer, Olli Haavisto, decided to do a new CD, as Mike was writing a load of new songs. Thus, "Shades of Blue" was released on Finland's Bluelight Records label in March, 2007, to great critical acclaim world-wide. After touring in support of the new CD throughout Scandanavia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Romania in '07 and '08, Mike released "Dumbflakes for Breakfast" on Humble House Records in November, 2008. His latest release, "Alder Hill", was also released on Humble House Records in 2013.

Over the years, Mike has worked with or opened for such artists as J.J.Cale, Michael Chapman, Kevin Coyne, Wigwam, Dave Lindholm, Mickey Baker, Eddie Boyd, Jim Pembroke, Jessie Curtis, Hank Jr., Rod Stewart, Lynard Skynard, Guy Clark, Fairport Convention, and others.

"Mike Westhues on poissa [Mike Westhues is gone]" (in Finnish). February 18, 2013.

Pajukallio, Arto. "Mike Westhues" (in Finnish). Helsingin Sanomat. February 20, 2013.

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