Home' Rhythms Magazine : 2017 Mar-Apr Contents 18 Rhythms
CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF RHYTHMS MAGAZINE -
Mike is the epitome of the new generation of the journeyman
musician. Travelling far and wide on the never-ending “blues
highway", performing a formidable number of shows yearly and
delivering powerhouse acoustic guitar and deep passionate
vocals. He has a stage presence worthy of the greats and a keen
desire to forever explore and perfect he music he loves.
your influences seem many and varied. what turned you on
The first music I remember was the unforgettable intro riff
from ‘Money For Nothing’ by Dire Straits. I was only three
years old at the time, but it struck a chord and inspired me to
start playing. I used to jump around the house with a squash
racquet as my pretend guitar!
it requires a certain determination to survive in the music
business and obviously a willingness to travel. tell me
about some of your recent and upcoming journeys.
Last year I did 132 shows all over the country and had many
great adventures. There’s so many incredible places to see
around Australia, but if I had to choose one that always stands
out it would definitely be the NT – really love it up there. This
year I’ve got lots more domestic touring, plus trips to NZ
and hopefully Canada, China and Japan.
you have a unique hybrid fingerstyle and a strong rhythmic
approach to guitar. How did that evolve?
I come from a three-piece band background playing electric
guitar and just about everything we used to do was very
rhythmically-driven. I wanted to maintain that same energy
and intensity with the acoustic. I’ve always been driven to
create bigger and heavier sounds with the acoustic.
Can i say that your guitar approach is very much in service
to the lyric and story? who are some of your favourite
lyricists and perhaps favourite songs generally?
If I had to name a few, I’d definitely say Dylan, Waits, Cohen,
Bowie, Hendrix and Paul Kelly certainly come to mind. Some
recent favourite songs are ‘Heroes’ by Bowie, ‘Hurt’ by Trent
Reznor and a new one called ‘Poetry’ by young Melbourne
artist Joshua Batten.
tell me about your latest recording.
It’s an upcoming single entitled ‘Oh Josephine’. Which is all
about my Grandmother and the profound impact she had on
my life over the last 35 years. She passed away last year at the
age of 87 and I wrote this song on the night she died.
you have a loud punchy live sound! tell me about your gear
I play a Cargill Custom Cutaway, the greatest acoustic I’ve ever
laid hands on! An important part of producing that loud and
punchy sound is the dual pickup system – an LR Baggs LB6
passive undersaddle pickup, nicely complemented by an LR
Baggs M1 active sound-hole pickup. They have very different
tonal characteristics but really blend nicely. Another crucial
part of the sound is the pedal setup. For the LB6 pickup, I run
that through an MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay (always on),
then a Boss BD-2 Blues Driver, then a Boss OC-3 Super Octave,
then the “A” input of the Boss RC-3 Loop Station, then out to
the LR Baggs Para-Acoustic DI, which has an XLR output to
the desk. For the M1 pickup, I run that into the “B” input of the
loop Station, then into the Boss DD-7 Digital Delay (always on),
which is on the analog setting, and then out through a DI to the
Do you plan to do any more electric work or is the acoustic
the general direction now? is this to some extent an
economic proposition – something we all have to consider
I just find the challenge of making a bigger sound with the
acoustic more inspiring. It’s always been really important to
me to find my own voice as a guitar player, as opposed to just
replicating stuff that’s already been done. And I feel that the
acoustic is a much more suitable vehicle for me to achieve
this. Yes, I’m certainly not unaware of the financial advantages
playing solo. I won’t lie in saying that has had some influence,
however this has definitely been secondary. My primary
mission is to create a larger and more exciting sound with one
acoustic guitar than that’s ever been done before! It’ll never
be up to me to decide whether or not I’ve achieved this, but I’ll
certainly devote the rest of my life to the pursuit.
“A voice that is going to keep growing into something that will shake rafters.”
– Sydney Morning Herald
Freedom Highway is Grammy Award–winner and 2017 Grammy nominee
Rhiannon Giddens’ follow-up to her highly praised debut album Tomorrow
Is My Turn. The record includes nine original songs Giddens wrote or
co-wrote while she and her band toured after Tomorrow Is My Turn’s
2015 release, along with a traditional song and two civil rights-era songs,
“Birmingham Sunday” and Staple Singers’ well-known “Freedom Highway,”
from which the album takes its name.
Rhiannon Giddens and band return to Australia in April – Sat April
8 Sydney The Factory Theatre, Tue April 11 Melbourne The Corner,
Thu April 13 - Sun April 16 Byron Bay Bluesfest
Out now on CD/LP/Digital Download
Available now on 2CD/2LP/Digital Download
Available March 17 on CD/2LP/Digital Download
Available March 10 on 5CD/5LP/Digital Download
CHRIS THILE &
CHRIS THILE &
“Remarkable rapport as bluegrass
Includes original material and covers of Gillian Welch, Bob
Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Elliot Smith.
A companion piece to 2016’s
lauded Ruminations. Features
a band that includes the Felice
Brothers and legendary drummer
Jim Keltner, with guest contributions
courtesy of Gillian Welch, Jim
James, Blake Mills, Maria Taylor, M Ward, Gus Seyffert,
Pearl Charles, Nathaniel Walcott, and Jonathan Wilson.
Out now on 3CD/Digital Dowload
THE MAGNETIC FIELDS
50 SONG MEMOIR
Chronicles the 50 years of
songwriter Stephin Merritt’s life with
one song per year.
“The last time the Magnetic Fields
chanced an undertaking this large
they came away with the stone-cold indie-pop classic 69
Love Songs. Gargantuan shoes to fill, but ours is a capable
cobbler.“ – New York Magazine.
THE RANDY NEWMAN
“A monument not only to Newman’s
half-century of great songwriting but
to this moment in history when all
the bad Ameri-karma he’s so drolly,
poignantly characterised and set to
quavers and crotchets in that time achieves its purest distillation
in The Donald’s tilt at the presidency. Of the 56 songs Newman
revisits with just voice and piano there’s not a duff song or
performance. The ideal binge listen for when they drop the big
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