Eicher coffeehouse series ends with MiZ

By on March 23, 2016

Mike Mizwinski returns on Saturday, March 26 to the Eicher Arts Center to close out the season of this year’s Coffeehouse Concert Series. This series, showcasing the region’s best singer/songwriters, is meant to provide a low-cost alternative to those who want to enjoy live music but want to avoid the noisy atmosphere and late hours of a bar or night club.

Mike (also known as MiZ) is a guitar virtuoso with two studio albums, two live albums, and two EPs under his belt. He is a favorite of the summer festival circuit and a two-time winner of the Tri-State Indie Award for Best Acoustic Artist. He has opened for such national acts as America, The Wallflowers, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Blues Traveler, Lyle Lovett, and Leon Russell, and he has garnered the praise of music industry giants as varied as Dion DiMucci (Dion & The Belmonts), WXPN Radio Host/Co-Founder of the Philadelphia Folk Fest Gene Shay, and Bill Payne of the band Little Feat.

In addition, his music has twice been featured on the hit FX TV show “Sons of Anarchy.” He has played thousands of shows up and down the eastern seaboard in venues from coffeehouses to stadiums. This impressive list of accomplishments would be surprising for someone so young, if you didn’t take into account that he has been doing this for nearly two decades.

A native of Scranton, Mike was first bitten by the music bug when his father (also a professional guitarist) took him to see the Grateful Dead when he was only eight years old. He knew from that moment that music was what he wanted to do with his life. He began taking guitar lessons and practiced constantly, always working at honing his craft. He began playing out professionally at clubs and bars when he was barely in his teens, finally quitting school at age 16 (with his mother’s reluctant blessing) to pursue a music career full time. He continued to sharpen his skills, particularly improvisation, while performing with numerous groups including Jam Stampede, Garcia Grass, and the band that bears his name, MiZ, becoming well-versed in most genres of popular music.

His music is best described as Americana, running the gamut from blues, bluegrass, and country to rock and jazz. His first studio album, East Hope Avenue (2011) dealt mainly with themes of love, loss, redemption, addiction, and recovery (taken from his own experience), and the simple joys of life. His 2014 follow-up, Parking Meters, focused on the up and downs, tragedies, and triumphs of human relationships; a theme that continued in Get Your Moo On, last year’s EP release with his modern bluegrass project, Till The Cows Come Home. Though equally comfortable with electric guitar, MiZ will be playing acoustically as he feels that most appropriate for the intimate setting.

The historic Eicher Arts Center is located at 409 Cocalico St., in Ephrata’s Grater Park. Admission to the event, which includes appetizers, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and desserts, is $10 (or $7.50 for Eicher members and those under 18). Cash or check only, please. BYOB is welcome for those over 21 with ID.

The show begins at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30. For more information or to reserve seating (which is strictly limited), call 733-4442. Proceeds benefit the Eicher Arts Center’s free programming.

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