ST PETER — For almost 45 years, Michael Johnson has performed at Gustavus Adolphus College. Now, the singer, songwriter, storyteller and guitarist returns to Gustavus on Friday to renew the tradition after a one-year hiatus.
Johnson will also be celebrating the release of his first CD in more than 10 years, “Moonlit Deja Vu.” The concert represents the national recording artist’s only southern Minnesota performance during the holiday season.
Johnson, who has now returned to Minneapolis after residing in Nashville for a number of years, first performed at Gustavus in April 1968 with John Denver as part of the trio Denver, Boise and Johnson. Following his departure from the trio one year later, Michael spent one year acting with an off-Broadway company. Since that time, he has studied and toured internationally eight times and has recorded 18 albums, which include 10 hit singles and two No. 1 country songs of the year. Even those who don't know his name will recognize hits such as “Bluer Than Blue,” “Give Me Wings,” “Ponies,” and “Rooty Toot Toot for the Moon.”
In a press release issued by Gustavus, Johnson said he prefers the intimacy and spontaneity of solo performance, especially in a concert hall like Gustavus' Björling Recital Hall where acoustics and closeness to the audience allow Michael Johnson the showman to shine.
“I love to talk to people and I love to make them laugh. And of course, I love to move them with my music. Without that, there is no reason to be on stage.”