Mike Nagoda is a queer and disabled blues and roots musician and independent recording artist based in Toronto. Born with Cerebral Palsy, Mike struggled to play guitar in a conventional manner until he discovered legendary Toronto Bluesman Brian Cober, who invented the art of double slide guitar in 1971. Nagoda eventually approached Brian to teach him this technique and Mr. Cober became Mike’s close friend and mentor until his passing in 2016. Nagoda is now proudly carrying on Mr. Cober’s legacy to a new generation with the double slide guitar in 2021 and beyond, marking the occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Mr. Cober’s revolutionary invention. Mike Nagoda is the winner of the 2020 Toronto Blues Society Talent Search, as well as receiving an Honourable Mention for the 2019 Amy Louie Grossman’s Music Scholarship.
As a queer and disabled blues musician, Nagoda writes and performs with strength, pride and compassion, and Outside The Box feels like a homecoming. “For me, Outside The Box is all about celebrating what makes me different as both a person and a musician”, he says. “There are only a handful of out, proud, openly queer male performers in the blues scene today that I know of — and I’m one of them! I don’t know how many of us talk about queer, same gender relationships among men in our lyrics. It’s just not something that’s done in blues. I really wanted to change that with this record, and finally start to give queer men a voice and visibility through telling my own story, and hopefully open the door for queer men to start telling our stories in blues.”
With ten remarkable tracks bending genre lines and breaking societal barriers, Nagoda’s sophomore release takes the listener on an epic aural journey, all born from his love of blues music.
Produced by Chris Birkett (Buffy Sainte-Marie, Sinead O’Connor, and others), the songs on Outside The Box are expertly performed by Mike Nagoda and the Spectrum Blues Band with Mike Nagoda on Acoustic and Electric Double Slide Guitar, Hammond Organ and Vocals, Peter Johnston on Electric Guitar, Anthony D’Allessandro on Acoustic and Electric Piano, D’Arcy Cain on Bass Guitar and Jeremy Ronson on Drums, Woodblocks, Cowbell and Crotale. There are many special guests on the album as well, including Frank Cosentino, Nelson Sobral, Jesse Dangerously and The Mighty Rhino, Michael Keith, Liam Ward, and more.
Mike Nagoda now brings his brand of soulful, progressive queer electric blues and roots music to the Canadian and International scene, taking double slide guitar into the next fifty years and beyond, all while telling stories that so many have wanted to hear for so long, and now finally can.