Michael was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee and is the youngest of four siblings. He became interested in music at an early age, especially because of albums such as Tears for Fears' Songs from the Big Chair and U2's The Joshua Tree. Michael began learning to play guitar in the fall of 1989 at the age of fourteen. By 1991, Michael had acquired a wide range of musical equipment, including guitars, a bass guitar, microphones, amplifiers, effects pedals, a drum machine, and even a four-track recording machine. He was able to build this collection working as an assistant chef full-time while attending high school.
Michael continued recording demos and experimenting with drum machines on his own over the next two years. In the summer of 1994, he joined brother Jerry in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on a project Jerry was organizing called "7." It eventually was called "7.7," and this led to a couple of singles being recorded with another friend of of Jerry's and a dozen or so club dates around Murfreesboro in the winter of 1994 and 1995. Click here to find out more about this project from Jerry.
This project seemed to lose steam in the summer of 1995, but Michael and Jerry continued to write and rehearse at home until early 1996.
Around this time, Michael was forced to sell off some of his equipment and was unable to continue working on the project. Jerry took some time off as well, but has since resumed working on music. Michael, however, took over a year off and in the summer of 1997, he began considering reentering the music scene. He started by searching local pawn shops and happened upon the same guitar he had sold a year and a half before. This had special meaning because it was one of the first guitars he had ever owned. He took it home immediately and began relearning some of the skills he had lost in his time away from playing. In the winter of 1997 and '98, Michael played with a couple of friends but never came upon anything serious. He moved back to Chattanooga in the fall of 1998. Within a short time, he began working with a friend who was just learning to play guitar. This continued until the fall of 1999, when Michael and Lindsay began playing music together and writing the songs for this album. It was the start of A House Without Neighbors and the beginning of a releationship that would become a marriage for Michael and Lindsay.