Mike Ridley is known throughout Michigan for his great live performances in popular local
taverns. This talented musicians song parodies are always well crafted and highlight his musicianship. His
interactive music sets have been known to be the life of the party. It is always a night to remember when Mike Ridley is
in town. Want to hear the parody song that fits your city and/or your college? Want to have some good laughs and hear some
good music? Ridley is your Michigan Man. Get your Attitude Checked here!
This just in!
The YouTube page for Michigan Man can be directly accessed at:
Download/listen to Opening Day, the Mike Ridley song featuring Ernie Harwell. (to Download, right click the link and select 'save as' and save to your computer in the desired location)
Sadly, for many of us, a big piece of our childhood died May 24th 2010 when Ernie Harwell passed away. I worked with Ernie in 1990 when the Tiger Stadium Fan
Club was actively trying to save the old ballpark. I had recorded a baseball song and asked Ernie to do a voice over. Without hesitation he asked when and
where. We made arrangements and late on a cold autumn evening Ernie came up to the studio in suburban Detroit. My dad had come along to meet Mr. Harwell and
it was an event that soldered my childhood with my old man’s love of the game. Ernie, in his soft southern way, took time to talk, not in a hurry, asking as
many questions as he answered. He and my dad hit it off and after about fifteen minutes he paused and looked at the sound booth. It was time. I handed him a
script of a few lines I had written. Talk about humbled. The script was about a beautiful day down on the corner of Michigan and Trumbell and the historic
ball park. Everything I had written out were simply lines I had heard Ernie say on WJR radio summer after lingering summer for just about all of my young life.
He listened intently to the song, an ode to opening day of baseball season, occasionally glancing at the script. When the song ended he smiled, looked at me,
nodded and said, “That’s a good song.”
There have been a few moments in my musical life that have elevated me above and beyond where I stood. I mean, only a
few. That was one of them. Ernie was also a songwriter and his simple compliment was a secret piece of gold that I could never adequately nor completely
share. I still can’t.
He stepped into the booth, donned the headphones, took a last glimpse at the script and looked away as if he were watching one of the thousands of games he
called. I swear he was actually watching a game. When he finished he set the paper down and asked through the monitor, “Is that good enough?”
Good Lord!! Good enough? How does a mortal answer that one?
After the session I asked Ernie if we could pay him for his time. He refused in a sincere and gentlemanly manner. “For what? Something I love doing for
something I dearly love?”
I don’t think it was just the stadium. Nor the fan club. It was the game. It was the people, the fans, the players and yes, the
team. The Detroit Tigers.
A few months earlier I was given a 1945 World Series program. The Detroit Tigers versus the Chicago Cubs. I was not into baseball memorabilia so this was
not the cornerstone on which I would build a collection. However, I knew Ernie was a collector. Second only to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s library
in Cooperstown, New York, Ernie’s collection is now part of the Burton Historical Collection in the Detroit Public Library.
I handed the program to him and asked, “Would you accept this?”
He opened it and thumbed through a few pages sharing it with my dad. “The only one I missed.”
My dad queried, “The war?”
Ernie said, “Yes sir.”
Ernie was a Marine in China at the end of the war and as he looked over the pages I knew we had hit on a pretty good barter.
Paul Richards, Hank Greenberg and Hal Newhouser. Names I had heard but rooted into a generation before mine. Two veteran proud gentleman looking at a
piece of their lives they had missed. Suddenly they were young boys again imagining the exploits and heroics of a day gone by.
He thanked all of us, shook hands and disappeared back into the cool evening. He had somehow lifted all of us. My dad was on cloud nine. The studio engineer looked at me and in a contemporary catch phrase uttered, “Cool. That was
just too cool.”
Ernie made us Tigers. It was his voice that did as much to cement our loyalty to the team and after having met and worked with him you knew what he had
infused into you via that velvet southern voice was good and right. We all seem to stand a little taller knowing that a truly great man had graced our
presence. Ernie would laugh at that characterization. He was the most honest and humble man you could ever imagine and he walked true to his faith.
And what you heard on the radio or saw on television was the gift he gave us through baseball. Soft summer evenings where a father and his sons would
silently stare at a tiny AM radio to see words, to hear the Tigers. It was his team and by god, it was our team. It was his game and now it is our game.
Til death do us part.
- Mike Ridley
Your voting for the Metz fire video last month resulted in a Telly Award for myself and McGinnis Video Productions here in Indian River .
The Telly Awards are selected from over 13,000 entries from all fifty states and around the world. Our category was non-broadcast video.
I’m even impressed. Of course, if you knew Pat and Jane McGinnis and how talented they are and you’d understand I’m just along for the ride.
Anyway, thanks for the support.
- Mike Ridley
I am returning to the town of Metz this April. As some of you Michigan historians know, this was the scene of one of the
most devastating fires in our states’ history back in 1908.
During my first gig there at Newmans Blind Pig in April two year ago, Gus Newman told me a little of the history of the fire.
I was haunted for weeks afterward as I did research on-line, checked out books about Michigan fires and even interviewed Betty Sodders
who had written two very popular books about Michigan fires.
That summer I wrote a song titled “A Slow Walk Down the Grade at Metz” and turned it over to Pat and Jane McGinnis of McGinnis Video
and they put together a video that is now on YouTube. It has been nominated for a Telly
If you are so inclined (read: I’m asking you a favor) go to:
give the video a review. If you are so inclined, (read: Please!!) vote for the video.
If not for the sake of an ego inflated entertainer hiding out in northern lower Michigan, do it for the sake of our state and
particularly, our region. It is an important piece of Michigan history and anything we can do to bring attention and tourism to our
area should be promoted.
- Mike Ridley
Mike Ridley wins the November 2008 election! Say hello to the new Supervisor of Tuscarora Township. More details here.
"A Man Walks into a Bar...(Mike Ridley - Live)"
now available directly from Mike at his gigs ($10) or via mail order ($12).
For mail order details please email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike is offering 2 rare songs plus one from "A Man Walks into A Bar..." for your listening pleasure. Check them out over at
and let him know what you think!