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I was raised in Enumclaw, WA. a cow/logging town in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Motorcycles, horses, hunting, camping and fishing were all a part of everyday life. For as long as I can remember I’ve been listening to country music - Johnny Cash, Hank, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline, Waylon & Willie, Loretta Lynn, Kris Kristofferson and in later years, George Strait, Hank III, Dwight Yoakam, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis and Clint Black. These are some of the folks who made country music what it is today, and to me that’s the ONLY country there is. It’s my yearning for the good ol’ stuff that has driven me back to the bare roots of country music that I remember when I was a kid.

Regrettably, it wasn’t until the summer of 2000 that I started playing the guitar. Once I had learned a few chords it seemed natural for me to sit down and write a song. May of 2002 marked the birth of “Alone”, which later found itself the first of ten tracks on “Rye Whiskey Why”.  How the CD ultimately came to be is a long story – here’s the short version.

In Sisters, Oregon (August 2003), I met Chris Booher (former keyboard player for "Asleep at the Wheel" and owner of Patriot Recording Studios in Burleson, Texas) and showed him the lyrics I had written to date. I had just six songs at that point but it was enough to raise his eyebrow a bit. By January, I had recorded a rough demo at home of four of the songs and sent them off to Chris. After hearing them, Chris encouraged me to come down to Texas and record them, which I did in April of 2004.  Four songs were recorded in that session -  "Alone", "My Blue Guitar", "Lonely Fool", and "Rye Whiskey Why".  Chris had lined up an all star cast of players for this session as follows: Chris Booher - fiddle/keyboard, Ron Jones - bass/acoustic guitar, Gary Carpenter - pedal steel/dobro, John Sharp - background vocals, Derek Spigener - drums, Tommy Nash - electric/acoustic guitar, and Aarom Meador as project engineer. I came home from that session very pleased with the results and also the compliments from the musicians regarding the unique style and flavor of my lyrics.  I had decided at that time that I would return as soon as I was able and finish a full 10 song CD. At the time, though, I had only written 9 songs so I spent a few days with an idea that had been rattling around in my head and completed "Cinder Road". On June 23rd the "Rye Whiskey Why" CD was finished and soon after was sent out for duplication.  (The talent of Reggie Rouffer on fiddle was added as well for the second session in June). 

At that point I considered the project to be complete up to the initial expectations I had, but I knew there was still work to be done to polish it up to a higher standard. Eight months later, February 2005, I once again returned to Patriot Recording and re-recorded the vocals on all ten tracks. Randy Elmore’s fiddle  and Stefani Little’s background vocals were added to the project as well. Another new face was engineer Jai Hutcherson, who re-mixed and mastered the tracks in March. All in all there were dramatic improvements to the CD across the board.  I don’t know if a project like this is ever really finished. I’m already itching to go back and raise the bar a little higher but that will have to wait for now. Perhaps a second CD will be a more likely path from here – I have nine more songs written thus far with a dozen more in various stages of “not done yet”. Regardless of where this train goes, I’ve found this adventure to be nothing short of pure fun, and  I’ve met some great people along the way as well.

In closing, I’ve tried to incorporate interesting writing and old fashioned country sounds into this CD. (To me, there’s just nothing like the sound of twin fiddles and a steel guitar at the hands of masters) I hope you find this music enjoyable. Heck, my mom likes it and she claims she’s not just saying that ‘cause she knows me.  Mike


 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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