Michael O'Neill

Washington born singer/songwriter Michael O’Neill came of age in the musically rich environment of the southern California west coast music surge, the late 1960’s folk and the 1970’s Folk/Rock era. At the age of sixteen he made his solo singer/songwriter debut at Gonzaga University’s Performing Arts Auditorium. O’Neill explains “ I just took to it. I became fanatical. I would listen to everything that was on records. I was introduced to all of that west coast music coming out of California. The folk music brought the words, the rock and blues gave a beat and the middle class kids sang in harmonies. I just loved to sing and write.

Early on he realized that he was not willing to make the sacrifices to be a guitar wizard, but this was not what he saw in the music. O’Neill only wanted to create the feeling in his songs and his performances that he felt in the artists that he most admired, artists that moved him emotionally. He saw great images in his minds eye as songs were performed. That was it !

The remainder of his high school years he spent in art school in Spokane, Washington, and worked for Concerts West in production. This enabled O’Neill to learn the business of music at an early age . Also this sat him right along side all of the touring musicians of day, Lee Michaels, BB King, Elvin Bishop, The Byrds to name a few. Returning to the Pacific Northwest area in the mid 1970’s Michael took up his solo career touring clubs and colleges . In the early part of 1980, Ivy Bauer of the Bauer Concert Co. enlisted O’Neill and his band to open a west coast tour with a band out of Ireland called U2. Ending up in southern California his band went back to the northwest and Michael stayed in Los Angeles, signing first with Jet Records & Don Arden. Michaels first release was a collection of songs recorded with Bob Wolstein, engineering at that time under George Masenberge. Attracted to the session was Kenny Gradney from Little Feat, John Shainks from The Melissa Etheridge Band, James Openhime Jazz Saxophonist Bonny James, and Steve Chapman from Poco. This, with the addition of Sam Clayton also from Little Feat, formed the Michael O’Neill Band.

This band went on to record for Gary Gersh then at Geffen Records, and Michael Ostin with Warner Brothers. Touring venues large and small with Greatful Deads Bob Wier, Stevie Ray Vaughn and numerous recording artists.

Writing was still the key. Michael began writing with Steve Cropper legendary songwriter who wrote “Sitting By the Dock Of the Bay”, “Wait Till The Midnite Hour”, and “Knock On Wood”. Jason Sheff bass player and singer of the group Chicago. Jeff “Skunk “ Baxter from Stealy Dan and The Doobie Brothers. Bob Weir rhythm guitarist and singer from The Grateful Dead. From these sessions, songs were produced for Dolly Parton, Bill Medlly, Dave Edmonds and the Everly Brothers to mention a few.

Michael relocated from Los Angeles in 1990 and headed for an island outside of Seattle. With relocation came another challenge in the career of Michael O’Neill. The northwest music scene had been hyped up by the media as the Grunge capital of the industry. He saw that he did not fit that hype, so he began looking for a place to land. What he found was a fellow by the name of Dave Pelkey and an organization called the NACA, the Nation Association of College Activities. Showcasing at the 1996 conference response from college delegates was overwhelming. Offering Concerts, Coffee House Performances, “SongWriting” and “ This Music Business” workshops Michael has been able to reach thousands in the college market.

Underlined Title indicates Audio Clip is available

Michael O'Neill
Dream On
  • 1. Love Go Bad
  • 2. Dream On
  • 3. Pick It Up
  • 4. Pale Horse Pale Rider
  • 5. Limbo
  • 6. Undercover
  • 7. Motor Run
  • 8. Love Is (The Healing Thing)
  • 9. Brand New Hold
  • 10. Young Heart
  • 11. Reckon Some Rain