With roots in traditional American folk and acoustic blues, award winning songwriter Charlie Mosbrook carries these traditions into the 21st century with carefully crafted compositions that are memorable, honest, emotional, and melodic. With a rich baritone voice and eclectic guitar technique built on 35 years of performance and musical exploration, Charlie introduces the song in a comfortable, conversational, and comical presentation before disappearing into the heart of the music, allowing the listener to share the experience, passion, and joy that defines Charlie Mosbrook’s music.
Born, raised, and based in Cleveland, Ohio, Charlie began his journey with a cheap guitar, a book of poetry, and a copy of Bound for Glory by Woody Guthrie. Early on he relocated to Madison, Wisconsin and Chicago where he began busking. This experience provided him with an opportunity to develop his stage craft and hone his skills as a musician and songwriter. After a few years he returned home to Cleveland where he began working with a band “The Electric Monkey” and hosting local open mics. The band was a folk-rock ensemble and enjoyed some local success. Charlie’s musical interests leaned heavily toward folk music while his bandmates had a greater interest in modern rock. Eventually the band would find success on their own while Charlie pursued his interests as a songwriter in the folk tradition.
Throughout the 90’s and early 2000s, Charlie was a regular throughout the Great Lakes region performing at bookstores, cafes and festivals often performing daily. His 1997 performances at The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum during their weeklong program Woody Guthrie: Hard Travelin’, helped to establish him as a local authority on Guthrie’s music and life. This led to more workshops and performances throughout the US on the subject.
In 2010 Charlie sustained a spinal cord injury leaving him as a high functioning quadriplegic. Following surgery and physical therapy, set out to re-establish his music career with a new enthusiasm born out of his personal tragedy. Recognizing that his former level of activity in his new physical situation was unsustainable, he his focus turned toward building a stronger national presence in the folk community. This focused helped to gain him attention from a wider audience and helped to establish his music on folk radio programs throughout the USA and Canada. His song “Remember Who We Are” won second place in the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. His CD Something to Believe was the featured album on WFMT Chicago’s Midnight Special, and his song “Up Among the Stars” was featured on No Depression.
In the tradition of Woody Guthrie, Charlie uses his music as vehicle to build a better world. Through programs like Music to Life, Stop the Hate, monthly performances in the local spinal cord injury unit, and countless charities and events that advocate for human rights and environmental action Charlie’s music is both informed and inspired by the amazing individuals who give them selves to these causes. He does not see his music as political, but honest. Honest about the events the songs are written about. Honest about the impact these events had on our lives, and honest about the agency and advocacy resulting from these events. Charlie believes if you have an honest song, the truth will shine.
His involvement in a wider folk community led him into service where he began volunteering with Folk Alliance International. This work included serving as a workshop coordinator for Folk Alliance Region Midwest where he ultimately took over the role of President. He has also served as president to the Northeast Ohio organization Folknet. Charlie is also a juried artist with Music to Life, a member of the Folk Alliance Cultural Equity Council, and serves as the disability advocate and chair to the City of Cleveland Heights’ Transportation Advisory Committee.
During the pandemic, Charlie found a new role as a music educator through Roots of American Music, teaching songwriting workshops with the Stop the Hate- Sing out program, guiding 10 classes into the finals with one overall win and two runner up awards. Grants were awarded to the classes. He also teaches elementary classes in a program called Blues is the Backbone, a history of American music.
In addition to current civic and non-profit work, Charlie hosts a local open mic, performs for festivals, house concerts and various venues throughout the United States. He is looking forward to returning to a touring schedule. A railroad enthusiast, Charlie builds his tours around rail routes.
- Blues Rock