Michael Tarbox is a smokey-voiced singer whose sound melds Appalachian folk, backwater blues and gospel in a exciting, visceral take on American music. He performs as both a solo artist and with his band, The Tarbox Ramblers.
Tarbox’s repertoire includes both original songs and arrangements of songs dating back to the 19th century or before – songs like St. James Infirmary, Jack of Diamonds and The Cuckoo. Tarbox plays these songs with freshness and immediacy, highlighting their hopes, tragedies and otherworldiness in a rough-hewn, uninhibited style that engages audiences wherever he plays.
Michael Tarbox’s own songs reflect and expand on the music he’s absorbed from traditional and rock influences that include Skip James, Bert Jansch and Lou Reed. Authors from The American South, like Flannery O’Connor, have also influenced his writing. Tarbox is an inventive guitarist with a distinctive barbed-wire sound; he also plays in a gospel-infused slide guitar style.Tarbox is often joined onstage by a violinist and string-bass player.
Michael Tarbox has released two solo albums and two albums, on The Rounder label, with The Tarbox Ramblers. He has played clubs and festivals throughout the US and Europe. He will resume touring in 2016 after taking a few years off the road to be at home in Boston with his young daughter.