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Mikey J-Life’s Road

Artist: Mikey J
Title: Life’s Road
Genre: Folk-Rock
Label: Independent

Michael Johnson, aka Mikey J, is a folk rock performer from New Hampshire. His New England values and roots come through his music and lyrics in a warm and meaningful way. I guess you have to be from these parts to understand a statement like that. I am right below him in Massachusetts so that made it all that much easier for me to discern where he was coming from while listening to his music.

Life’s Road takes you right down Mikey J’s own personal path through 10 descriptive tracks. This is very reflective and relaxing acoustic folk music for the most part and I took a liking to it rather quickly. Some of the tracks are just Mikey featured with a nice strumming acoustic guitar; others have a nice piano tinkling in the background to give it a nice layer that accentuates everything else going on. This production is a well thought out and purposefully arranged.

I found it interesting how tracks 4 and 5 intersect. “Father” is about a man that does not know how to love his Dad. I can see how that can happen at times for many men, as relationships with men are entirely different from what women have with each other. I think the male machismo and competitive spirit can get in the way of resolving any disagreements or issues. I have personally experienced this with male family members. Possibly this is what Mikey is referring to in this song. The next track is “3 Men In The Mirror,’ which is very interesting. He sings about his own son becoming a man, and when he looks into the mirror of life, he sees all three men-himself, his father, and his son. I have caught myself doing this over the last few years myself. As much as we hate to admit it at times, we are a lot like our parents and some of those more disturbing attributes become glaringly obvious to your significant other. Certainly, anyone can relate to this in some way.

What this all boils down to for this listener is a simple fact, the music forced me to look at my own life-past, present, and future. This is not always the easiest thing to do but the music and Mikey’s vocal style, made it a little bit easier to do so. Sometimes music has a way of making you smile regardless of the subject, well most of the time anyway. In this case, I felt that I knew the artist just as if he was a next-door neighbor for years.

Artists like Mikey J come at you with their heart on their sleeve leaving nothing to chance; he brings it all to the table and lays down his cards. It is then up to you what cards you want dealt to you, track by track. In the end, Mikey deals a full house and walks away the winner. I really enjoyed this simple straightforward artist and his music.

© Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck

February 14, 2007

01. Only the Mountains
02. See the Light
03. Aged Traveler
04. Father
05. 3 Men In The Mirror
06. Do You Think of Me
07. Still
08. You Never Loved Me Anyway
09. Let Me Go
10. Just Gotta Love Me

Michael Johnson: Vocals, 12 & 6 string acoustic guitar
Duane Carleton: Background Vocals, 12 & 6 string Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitars, Mandolin, Bass
Bob Boyer: Bass Guitar, Drums
Tim Lynch: Percussion, Piano/Keyboards
Rick Sullivan: Snare Drum


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