Mike Johnson was born in Baltimore, MD but grew up in Montgomery, AL. He started playing steel guitar in his Dads band at age 15. In 1976, at age 19, he moved to Nashville to work with Mel Street. When Mel died in October of 1978, Mike went to work with Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely for the next 9 months. He then took a job with Bill Anderson in July of 1979 and was affiliated with Bills organization for over 15 years.
Shortly after The Nashville Network came to cable TV in 1983, Mike became The Music Director and The Steel Guitar Player for the show You Can Be A Star. During his 13 years with TNN, he served in the same capacity for 3 other shows; Play It Again Nashville, Be A Star, and The Charlie Daniels Talent Roundup. He also wrote and produced theme songs for several TNN shows including, Fandango, Top Card, American Magazine and The Mesquite Rodeo. During the years of touring with Bill Anderson and working with TNN, Mike had been playing steel guitar on a number of recording sessions. In September of 1996, he made the decision to try session work full time. In order to do this, he felt it was time to come off the road. Mike had recorded with artists Mel Street, Joe Stampley, and Christy Lane in earlier years. He also produced and played on 6 albums for Bill Anderson. The decision to pursue full time studio work proved to be a good move.
The first year he recorded with Faith Hill and Brad Paisley. He has since played on records with artists such as Carrie Underwood, George Strait, Reba McEntire, Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, Josh Turner, Darryl Worley, Jason Aldean, Willie Nelson, Trace Adkins, Big and Rich, Randy Owens, Jewel, Joe Nichols, Craig Morgan, BJ Thomas, John Conlee, Lee Greenwood, Jeff Bates, Shania Twain, Gretchen Wilson, Rodney Atkins, Justin Moore, Jessica Simpson, Shedaisy, Blake Shelton, Deep Purple, America, Aerosmith and many others. He played on the Daryle Singletary album Thats Why I Sing This Way, which included guests like George Jones, Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakum, and the very last recording of Johnny Paycheck. Brad Paisleys Part Two album included a guest appearance by Buck Owens. Mike played steel on The Louvin Brothers Tribute Album entitled Livin Lovin Losin for Universal South Records. It includes such artists as Vince Gill, Glen Campbell, Emmylou Harris, Patty Loveless, Rodney Crowell, Merle Haggard, James Taylor, Alison Krauss, Ronnie Dunn, Terri Clark, Rebecca Lynn Howard and Rhonda Vincent.
Since 1997, Mike has been the Music Director & Steel Guitarist for the RFD TV show, COUNTRY'S FAMILY REUNION.
Mike Johnson was voted the "ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC, STEEL GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR" for 2006 and for 2012. He was nominated for the ACM award in 2004, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11 and 2012.
On April 19, 2008, Mike was inducted into The Alabama Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.