Mike Dougherty is a guitarist/composer in the Washington, D.C area who specializes in acoustic steel-string fingerpicking music. His original guitar compositions incorporate many different strains of American music: blues, folk, country, ragtime, jazz, rock, and gospel. Syncopated rhythms, melodic content, texture, and space are also present. In addition, there is a sense of simplicity, emotion and humor. Mike’s musical background can only be described as diverse and eclectic. He has evolved from folk strummer, to electric blues-rocker, to acoustic roots musician, to instrumental fingerpicker and slide guitarist. Mike studied a variety of music privately for years with several excellent local teachers, and studied fingerpicking and slide with Steve James and Jorma Kaukonen (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna), most recently on a masters level. As a teacher, Mike stresses the basic fundamentals, alternate bass or “independent thumb” style, monotonic bass and slide guitar. Mike usually teaches the CAGED method, alternate tunings, and various ragtime/blues progressions as part of his fingerpicking instruction.


As a performer Mike has played private parties, weddings, clubs and restaurants, festival and city functions, coffeehouses, and even a couple of farmer’s markets. Since 2003, Mike has temporarily withdrawn from performing to concentrate on composing, recording, teaching, and raising two children. During this time, Mike has released two cds. The first disc, Better Slow Down (2005), is a collection of eight original compositions for solo acoustic guitar, mainly in open tunings. It was recorded entirely live with no overdubs. The music is reminiscent of John Fahey, Peter Lang, Leo Kottke, Jorma Kaukonen’s instrumentals, and obviously owes a debt to all the great blues and country fingerpickers. It received glowing reviews in such magazines as Sing Out!, the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange, Indie-music.com, and Download.com. Shortly thereafter Mike launched his own website, mikedoughertymusic.com. The second disc, Southern Comfort (2007), is a very personal effort. It was performed and composed after his son was diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Again, the cd was recorded live, and it contains 14 instrumentals. The material is more upbeat, and mostly played in standard tuning, except for the slide guitar. With this release, Mike plans to return to live performance.

©Copyright Mike Dougherty 2008. All rights reserved.