GRAMMY Award-winner Mike Farris has a clear vision of his role as a musician - and it might surprise you.

“My motivation has always been to be part of something greater than yourself,” he said. “Even before I really understood it, I wanted to be a servant to the people, to my audience.

“When I finally realised what I do then it became this exquisite beauty which fuels what I do and it is such an honour to be able to do that.”

Bury Times: Mike Farris (Picture: Sebastian Smith)

Nashville-based Mike will be playing an intimate acoustic show at Barnoldswick Music and Arts Centre later this month as part of a short UK tour. It offers a rare chance to see a performer who is held in huge esteem by his peers.

Mike won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Roots Gospel Album for his album Shine for All the People and is also a former Americana Music Award winner.

His music combines soul, gospel, country and folk with a definite southern feel and his music career started with the band Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies. He also fronted Double Trouble, Stevie Ray Vaughn’s band, but the rock and roll lifestyle took its toll and he battled addiction - he has now been ‘clean’ for more than 12 years.

Talking to Mike, you are struck by how important music is to him.

“It is one of most precious things we have been given in this life,” he said. “When you experience those evenings when the molecular structure of the room changes and it almost reaches the fourth dimension it’s amazing. I can’t think of anything that does what music does.”

As someone who performs on both sides of the Atlantic, he’s in a position to gauge how audiences react differently.

“UK audiences definitely get it, they get what I do,” he said, “but there’s not going to be too many place go with me like they do back home down south. In Europe they go with it as much as they can allow themselves.

“The main difference is that back home they are really up for singing with me, in other places not so much.

“It can be a little heartbreaking when you come across people who can’t or won’t allow themselves to feel the full effect of the music. I think a lot of that has to do with social mores and how you are supposed to behave and what other people think.

“My view is that you need to let go of what someone else might think and do you. When you throw yourself into it in a free way it’s such a beautiful thing.

“My job really is to facilitate. My whole thing is to tear down the veil between the stage and the crowd and have them be a part of it. When we are all making music together that’s when it becomes magic.

“I didn’t get into music to get laid or to do the drugs. I’ve certainly fallen pray to all of that but that was never my motivation. My motivation was to be part of something greater.”

Mike’s most recent album - Silver and Stone came out in 2018 and featured a who’s who of top Nashville musicians. So are fans likely to get some new music any time soon?

“I was ready to record a new album when Covid hit and I’m still ready,” Mike said ruefully. “I’m waiting for my record label to move so I’m kind of stuck behind things I can’t really control.

“But that being said, I should be have a record out in the spring of 24.

“And,” he revealed, “I will be road testing some of the songs from that album when I roll through.”

Mike Farris, Barnoldswick Music and Arts Centre, Tuesday, August 22. Details from