Existential Banjo


Episode 1
Little Pink America
with Corky Siegel &
Sons of the Never Wrong

Episode 2
People Get Ready
with Sue Demel, vocals

Episode 3
MTA (Poor Ol' Charlie)
with Tony Trischka

Episode 4
Suite for Americas:  Dorian
with Nora Barton, cello

Episode 5
Midnight Rider
with Darol Anger. violin

Episode 6
Vincent Black Lightning
@ Chicago City Winery

Episode 7
Hasna ya Layla
with Aziz Samaoui, ngoni

Episode 8
Opus 821
with Geraldo de Oliveira

Episode 9
Gaudete & Sleepers Awake
with David Jennings, vibes

Episode 10
Corrina, Corrina
with Aziz Samaoui, ngoni 

Episode 11
with Erkan Ogur
(Concert in Istanbul)

Episode 12
Last Thing On My Mind
with Tom Paxton, songwriter

New Releases

A-sides CD

Fingerstyle guitar with Darol Anger on violin 


Two New Hal Leonard books



To Play on the Banjo 
(co-written with Greg Cahill)


About Michael J. Miles



When Pete Seeger first heard Michael Miles, he sent a letter to Michael saying that "in all my 70 years this is among the most beautiful recordings I’ve ever is enough to make me want to learn the banjo all over again.”

Michael Miles is one of America’s most inventive clawhammer banjo players. Add guitar, vocals, jazz instruments, orchestras and complex historically-themed theatrical presentations to the mix and, two decades later, Michael has a critically acclaimed catalog of original compositions, stage performances, music CD’s and music instruction books.

Michael's performance credits include the Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, Ravinia Festival, Harris Theatre in Chicago, American University in Beirut, Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in Ireland, MIAM Graduate Conservatory of Music in Istanbul,  and the Royal Opera Theatre in Marrakesh.





EXISTENTIAL BANJO, Episode 4 features the beautiful cello playing of Nora Barton from the Chicago Arts Orchestra and the Classical Revolution.  Please SHARE this video with your pals, and SUBSCRIBE TO YOUTUBE so that you won't miss a single episode of the The Existential Banjo coming every Tuesday morning.  Episode 5 is the Midnight Rider with Darol Anger.  Episode 6 is 1952 Vincent Black Lightning live the Chicago City Winery.    


Here is Existential Banjo, Episode 3:  MTA featuring Tony Trischka, arguably one of the greatest banjoists the world has ever known. One of his important early influences was the Kingston Trio and their version of the MTA.   But in his storied career, it has never been recorded until now.  

Existential Banjo, Episode 2
"People Get Ready" by Curtis Mayfield
Performance at City Winery featuring Sue Demel on vocals, John Abbey on bass and Geraldo de Oliveira on percussion.   PLEASE SHARE!!

Season 1, Episode 1

Dylan for Clawhammer 

Bob Dylan for Clawhammer Banjo is now available here.   The book includes 14 Dylan tunes arranged as instrumental renderings of Dylan's amazing work.   Tunes include All Along The Watchtower, Tangled Up In Blue, Mr. Tambourine Man, Positively 4th Street, Blowin' in the Wind and more.   While there is no audio officially included in the book, click below for a living room bootleg sample of what your banjo could sound like playing Dylan.   ORDER YOURS HERE


Banjo master Michael J. Miles takes on Walt Whitman and jazz

Howard Reich - Jazz Critic

Chicago banjo whiz Michael J. Miles has launched some strange, ambitious ventures through the years. He has penned a "Yellowbird Concerto" for banjo and orchestra, transformed music of blues pioneer Robert Johnson and jazz master Dave Brubeck and transcribed for his soft-spoken instrument two monuments of classical music: cello suites of Johann Sebastian Bach. The man clearly does not dream small.   Read more

The Camerado Suite is a new composition for banjo, chamber orchestra and jazz choir featuring text by Walt Whitman.  The final stanza of "Song of the Open Road."   Chicago Tribune's jazz critic Howard Reich published a story about this today.  Click here to read story.  

On Friday, Jan 22 at 7:30pm CT, Chicago's PBS station WTTW will be running their story about my 25 year relationship and detailed written correspondence with Pete Seeger.   There is a permanent display at the Old Town School where all of the correspondence can be seen.   I was one of the many lucky ones who felt the powerful embrace of Pete Seeger's encouragement.  Click here for broadcast.

MICHAEL MILES in Concert with Chamber Orchestra and Chorale

Weds, Feb 3, 7:00pm at the Poetry Foundation
61 W. Superior, Chicago 

Featuring the Niles North High School Orchestra and Chorale performing the "Camerado Suite", a new composition by Michael Miles featuring the final stanza of Walt Whitman's "Song of the Open Road," set to music for banjo, chamber orchestra and chorale.   


RSS feed