Mike Wheeler Musician
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Mike Wheeler Musician
Mike Wheeler
Mike Wheeler Close Up (1).JPG
Mike Wheeler at Kingston Mines 2015
Background information
Michael Lewis Wheeler
Born (1961-06-30) June 30, 1961 (age 56)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres Chicago blues, electric blues
Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals
Labels Delmark
Carl Weathersby, Peaches Staten, Big James and the Chicago Playboys
Website www.mikewheelerband.com

Mike Wheeler (born June 30, 1961) is a Chicago blues songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist. His first gig was with Muddy Waters' piano player, Lovie Lee. He performed with numerous Chicago bands and well-known artists such as Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy, and Shemekia Copeland. He formed his own band, the Mike Wheeler Band, in 2001.His CD, Self Made Man, was released by Delmark Records in 2012 with critical acclaim. He was inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame in 2014. He is a regular performer at the famed Chicago blues club, Kingston Mines.

Life and career

Wheeler (Michael Lewis Wheeler) was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 30, 1961.[1] His music career spans more than 30 years. He played his first gig in 1984 with Muddy Waters' piano player, Lovie Lee, at Lilly's, a Lincoln Park bar in Chicago.[2][3] His mother was his first musical influence by playing blues (such as Muddy Waters and B.B. King), R&B, and soul records in their home.[2][3] He recorded and played on numerous Chicago blues bands including Dave Cadillac and the Chicago Redhots, Sam Cockrell and the Grooves, Nellie Tiger Travis, Big Ray and Chicago's Most Wanted, Big James and The Chicago Playboys, and Peaches Staten and the Grooveshakers. He performed with well-known blues artists such as Koko Taylor, Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland, Jimmy Johnson, Son Seals, and Willie Kent.[2] He tours in Europe[2][4] and he has played at the Chicago Blues Festival.[5] In 2014, he was inducted into the Chicago Blues Halls of Fame as a Master Blues Artist.[6] He is a regular performer at the famed Chicago blues club, Kingston Mines.[7]

Wheeler formed his own band in 2001, the Mike Wheeler Band. The band has all of its original members.[4] Bassist Larry Williams was a childhood friend of Wheeler.[3] He has played to national and international audiences. He is known for his stage presence and charisma. Drummer Cleo Cole started playing drums at the age of 10, studied at the Music Conservatory of Chicago, and has performed before international audiences. Keyboardist Brian James has an associate's degree in Fine Arts. He was the music director for numerous artists, including Lonnie Brooks.[8]

Music and performance style

Reviewer Read noted that Wheeler has a recognizable sound that includes funk and jazz while telling stories and maintaining a positive attitude and uplifting energy in his music.[3] Critic Cummings-Yeates wrote, "Wheeler possesses the perfect blend of musicianship, storytelling, and singing skills."[9]Chicago Reader critic Whiteis described Wheeler's guitar playing as a "typical Chicagoan blend of Texas-to-Memphis panache and back-alley aggression."[10] Blues critic Hensley found that Wheeler's "red-hot" guitar style is "reminiscent" of Carl Weathersby, Jimmy Johnson and Eddie Hazel. Hensley stated of the 12 songs that Wheeler wrote on the CD, Self Made Man, that he has "extraordinary talent as a songwriter".[4]


Album Artist Label Notes
Checking on My Baby Cadillac Dave & The Chicago Redhots Funky Blues, Inc. Includes Mike Wheeler on guitar[2][11]
I.m in the Business Sam Cockrell and the Groove Boom Boom Records, MAD Records 1999 - includes Mike Wheeler on guitar[2][12][13]
Right Here Right Now Big James and the Chicago Playboys Blind Pig Records 2009 - includes Mike Wheeler on guitar[14]
Peaches Live at Legends Peaches Staten Swississippi Records 2010 - Mike Wheeler on guitar[15]
The Big Payback Big James and the Chicago Playboys Blind Pig Records 2011 - includes Mike Wheeler on guitar[16][17]
Mike Wheeler Band Mike Wheeler Chilla Records 2003[18][19]
Self Made Man Mike Wheeler Delmark Records 2012[18]
Turn Up !! Mike Wheeler Band Delmark Records 2016[18]


  1. ^ Eagle, Bob; LaBlanc, Eric. Blues: A Regional Experience. ABC-CLIO. p. 76. ISBN 0313344248. Retrieved 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Mike Wheeler Band: About Us". bandzoogle.com. Sitezoogle Inc. Retrieved 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Read, Brian K. "Mike Wheeler: Self Made Man". chicagoblues.com. Chicago Blues Guide, LLC. Retrieved 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Hensley, Al. "Mike Wheeler - Self Made Man". rhythms.com. Rhythms Music Magazine. Retrieved 2012. 
  5. ^ Kerzner, Barry (April 4, 2014). "2014 Chicago Blues Festival Line-up Announced". chicagoblues.com. Chicago Blues. Retrieved 2015. 
  6. ^ "Chicago Blues Hall of Fame 2014 Inductees". blueshalloffame.com. Chicago Blues Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2015. 
  7. ^ "Schedule - Kingston Mines". kingstonmines.com. Kinston Mines. Archived from the original on April 25, 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  8. ^ "Mike Wheeler Band - 12 November 2015". keysandchords.com. Woodland and Hillcrest Promotion Production. Retrieved 2015. 
  9. ^ Cummings-Yeates, Rosalind. "Mike Wheeler Band :: Self Made Man - Delmark Records". rosaslounge.com. 2015 Rosa's Lounge. Retrieved 2015. 
  10. ^ "Mike Wheeler". phase.com. PBase.com LLC. Retrieved 2015. 
  11. ^ "Buy Redhot Music!!!". chicagoredhots.com. Funky Blues, Inc. Retrieved 2015. 
  12. ^ "I'm in the Business". Amazon.com. Amazon.com. Retrieved 2015. 
  13. ^ "Sam Cockrell Discography". AllMusic.com. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved 2015. 
  14. ^ "Big James and the Chicago Playboys". blindpigrecords.com. Whole Hog, Inc. Retrieved 2015. 
  15. ^ Marshall, Matt (October 16, 2010). "Peaches Staten: Peaches Live at Legends". americanbluesscene.con. American Blues Scene. Retrieved 2015. 
  16. ^ "The Big Payback Credist". allmusic.com. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved 2015. 
  17. ^ "Big James and the Chicago Playboys". blindpigrecords.com. Whole Hog, Inc. Archived from the original on June 24, 2015. Retrieved 2015. 
  18. ^ a b c "Mike Wheeler Discography". allmusic.com. All Media Network, LLC. Retrieved 2015. 
  19. ^ "The Mike Wheeler Band - Mike Wheeler Band (2003)". israbox.com. IsraBox. Retrieved 2015. 

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