Missouri Music Hall of Fame


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September 2, 2011

Brewer and Shipley

As the international groundbreaking song-writing team of BREWER & SHIPLEY, this 40-year partnership has helped spin the musical harmonies and clever lyrics into the genre now formally known as “Americana”.  Fueled by the inspiration of back roads of Missouri’s Northwest Tarkio region, Brewer & Shipley’s top 10 chart hit, “One Toke Over The Line” made them anthem-leaders of the Midwest singer-songwriter movement… and an official “enemy of the moral state” by then President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon. 

MICHAEL BREWER & TOM SHIPLEY are truly two who work as one.  Still as passionate as ever, they continue to blend guitars and voices and perform for audiences 40 years after their trademark vocal harmonies and intertwined acoustic guitars carved a unique niche in America's soundboard.  Their melodic music with their thoughtful, socially conscious lyrics still resonate with long time fans and have also attracted a younger generation of fans that have discovered Brewer & Shipley's music.

MICHAEL BREWER & TOM SHIPLEY began their individual careers as folk artists on the American and Canadian folk club circuit in the early 1960s.  Both native mid-westerns (Oklahoman and Ohioan respective to their billing), they first met in 1964 at the famed Blind Owl coffee house in Kent, Ohio.  It would be three more years before they would team up, and during those three years the two crossed paths at clubs on the folk circuit, and each tried their hand in other musical groups that didn’t pan out. 

"We really didn't care for L.A. very much," explained Michael.  "We had just had enough, and figured there had to be a better way to make music, without living there.  So we left California, and ended up coming back to the heartland. We ended up in Kansas City and started a management/production company with some friends, Good Karma Productions.

Brewer & Shipley have recorded original material albums for four different labels, A&M Records, Buddah/Kama Sutra Records, Capitol Records, & their own One Toke Productions. Their greatest commercial success was with Kama Sutra where they released four albums in the space of four years: Weeds, Tarkio, Shake Off The Demon, and Rural Space.  After leaving Buddah/Kama Sutra they were signed by Capitol Records and they released two albums in two years on Capitol: ST11261 and Welcome To Riddle Bridge.  They split up for a few years in 1980, and since reuniting in 1987, they have released two albums on their own One Toke Productions label: Shanghai & Heartland.

None of their albums would equal the commercial appeal of Tarkio which included their breakout single “One Toke Over The Line,” but all their albums were well crafted with standout musicians playing predominantly Brewer & Shipley written songs.  Mitch Jayne of the Dillards explained, “People never cease to be amazed by Brewer and Shipley who since 1968 have been assembling their careful albums with the same skill fiddle makers use; each one an example of the best work that they had learned to do so far.  Album buyers understood that these men were designers, not pop music freaks, and as prolific as they were, they didn't write songs to any formula.  Each album, from Down In L.A. to Heartland, was a meticulously woven tapestry of fabric they had invented one song at a time." 

Their long and still progressive career came to be honored on the stages of JoeStock Music Festival as part of the Missouri  Music Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2012 on Friday evening, Sept. 2nd. 2011 in St. Joseph,  Missouri.

(Much of the bio taken from the website

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