Novelist Poet Songwriter
Redberryash is the official website of Mike Haley; novelist, poet and songwriter
Mike Haley was born and raised in Essex and considers himself to be a true Essex man. He has lived in the County Town and then the City of Chelmsford for more than 35 years. His working life was spent in computers and telecommunications.
He bought his first “proper” guitar, a 12-string acoustic, in 1968. He taught himself to play, and intends to carry on doing so until he gets it right. He has been writing poems, songs and short stories since he was about 16.
Mike is a divorcee who lives alone, and has a daughter Michelle, and two grandsons Callum and Connor. He is an ardent fan of Chelmsford City Football Club, and a regular attendee at many local writing groups. His favourite poets are the songwriters Bob Dylan and Roy Harper.
Between 2000 and 2008 he recorded 12 demo albums. He performs mostly solo; one man, one guitar, and sometimes in bands, the last of which was called Redberryash.
Most of his creative emphasis up until 2012 had been in writing songs and poems. Since then he has written 2 novels, compiled 2 poetry books, and recorded 2 new albums.
I’ve been a writer for over 50 years, and during that long period of development the creation of “products of the pen” has waxed and waned many times, leading to many barren Sahara eras interspersed with prolific Amazon rain forest epochs. After spending over 30 years writing practically all poems and songs I did finally undertake something more substantial in 1998. But it wasn’t until 2012 that the spark finally ignited the flames for me to become a novelist.
It appears that the first time I kept something I’d written was in 1965 when I wrote a poem called “I Remember the Summer and You” which became a song once I’d learned my first few chords on the guitar. Some poems never made the transition into songs, and some were never intended to do so in the first place. As a result I have written a great deal of poetry.
Ever since I was a teenager I had been writing poems, and after taking up playing the guitar in 1967, I began writing songs. It has been a long and tortuous trail from spotty teenage poet to wrinkly old songwriter, but I wouldn’t want to change one minute of the experience.
Why Red Berry Ash?
Throughout my musical “career” I have mostly performed solo; one man, one guitar, but frequently played in other loosely knit “bands”. Redberryash was the name I gave to my last permanent band which folded in 2008 after being together in various formations for about 4 years. The name rolls off the tongue easily and also evokes a pocketful of folklore.
Redberryash was sometimes called “wayfarer’s tree” or “traveller’s tree” because it supposedly prevented those on a journey from getting lost. It was thought to be a magical tree, and to give protection against malevolent beings. British folklorists of the Victorian era reported the folk belief that the red berry ash was capable of warding off witches when planted near a gate or front door.
Redberryash were often placed at the gate to a property, signifying the crossing of the threshold between the path or street and the property of someone. According to Elen Sentier, in her book,”Threshold is a place of both INGRESS (the way in) and EGRESS (the way out), offering the chance of “going somewhere … and leaving somewhere” at the same time.
A Sample Mike Haley’s Music
I believe music should be accessible to everyone, everywhere, regardless of income level.
Photos from our Gallery
Mike Haley’s Work
The following books have been published by Michael Haley.