Brewer induction at OMHOF set for Saturday

Folk singer Michael Brewer acted a bit silly in his earlier days, when he was half of the duo Brewer & Shipley. He will be inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame on Saturday.

MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Oklahoma City native Michael Brewer recalls getting into performing at just the right time in the early 1960s.

"I was still in high school, and I was in a rock 'n' roll band," Brewer said. "I was probably at the perfect age for original rock 'n' roll. Everything went from Dean Martin and Doris Day to Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Elvis."

He turned that music into a folk-singing career that included decades as half of the duo Brewer and Shipley. They topped the charts in 1971 with "One Toke over the Line."

Brewer induction at OMHOF set for Saturday

Folk singer Michael Brewer brings more than 50 years experience to his Saturday concert and induction into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

Brewer will be inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame with a concert and ceremony at 7 p.m. Saturday at OMHOF's Frisco Depot.

The induction caught Brewer by surprise.

"I never in a million years thought I'd be in the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame," Brewer said. "It's truly an honor, especially when I look at the roster of my fellow inductees. I'm going to be in really good company."

That good company includes Depression era balladeer Woody Guthrie, he said.

"The list goes on — Vince Gill, Hoyt Axton, Merle Haggard," he said. "Being a folk singer, I'd say Woody Guthrie is on the top of the list."

Brewer said both his parents are musical; his mother taught music at home.

"We all grew up with music in our lives literally every day," he said. "My mom was a bit of a show-biz mom. She had me singing on the radio at 6 years old."

Brewer said he became a singing drummer with a rock 'n' roll band during high school.

"Folk music came along and really got my interest, so I sold my drums and got a Martin guitar and started learning folk songs and chords," he said. He said he began traveling the folk circuit.

That was when folk music acts such as the Brothers Four and Peter, Paul and Mary topped music charts.

According to the Brewer & Shipley website, Brewer met Tom Shipley at an Ohio coffee house. They became a duo in 1968. 

Brewer & Shipley wrote and recorded their "One Toke Over the Line" for Buddha records. 

"As far as the world is concerned, that's the one we're known for," Brewer said. "But as far as Brewer & Shipley fans are concerned, we're known for all the dozen albums and the songs that we wrote."

They split up in 1980, but got back together in 1987.

"This is our 51st anniversary," he said. "So there's a whole lot more to Brewer & Shipley than 'One Toke Over the Line.'"

Brewer said the love of music keeps him and Shipley together.

"And we like seeing the smiling faces on the fans," he said. "It's also nice to earn a buck."

He said he and Shipley stick to their folk roots. Brewer also has recorded his own work.

Brewer said he doesn't perform solo often. On Saturday, he'll perform some of his own work, as well as work he's done with Shipley.

"And tell some stories," he said. "I've got a lot of them because I've been doing it for a long time."

OMHOF President Amy Love said the Hall of Fame seeks to put the induction spotlight on one artist, as well as raise money for the Hall of Fame.

"All proceeds from this show will go to the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame’s operational fund," Love said. "To help accomplish these goals, we are holding the event in our Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame facility where we have invested in an excellent sound system and stage environment where patrons will see and hear a top-notch production.”