Artist: Mike Hale
Album: Lives Like Mine
Label: Suburban Home
Even if you aren’t a fan of acoustic music, there’s something in the story of Mike Hale that should gain some respect from any music fan. This here is a man/artist who set out to make music and tour his life away and is doing it. The American Dream realized and all while staying underground. His new album, Lives Like Mine is a heart-on-your-sleeve record filled with stories of life and love as told by someone whose traveled these roads many times.
Opening in a melancholy way with the subtle, “Live Like Mine,” Mike’s voice croons in perfectly placed wit his guitar as his only accompaniment. It’s not the simplest guitar work, but it’s kept subtle to make more room for Mike and his words to hit you. This theme actually occurs quite a bit on the record, but it’s exactly what this kind of music needs. “When She Loved Me,” sounds like an aged Spill Canvas [in the best possible way]. Hale’s voice echoes with a life of hardships [whether that be the case or not] and it makes everything come alive wonderfully. Then, on “Losing Ground,” Hale moves to the Piano to create a whole new atmosphere for his music. It works well and actually tuns out to be one of the vest songs on the whole record.
Later on in the record, “History Today,” adds some shaker to accompany the guitar and really pulls you in. Hale’s voice seems to stay pretty constant throughout a lot of these tracks, but here, it cracks just a bit and it makes it so much more revealing. “If You Want To Know” sounds a lot like it was meant to be a rock track and I think it would transfer quite well. Some claps take us into a solid chorus and, with your eyes closed, you can see this long haired musician fronting a full fledged rock act and making this song sound just as great. Lastly, “How to Walk Away,” a subtle piano closer, makes this record anything, but simple to put down.
Even if the album wasn’t my cup of tea, I’d give it up for anyone willing to chase their dreams of playing full time, but fortunately this album gives Mike Hale complete reasoning to go on the road. It’s moving and vast, yet subtly and simple. He seems to know just what chords and keys are necessary to captivate the audience and then lets his great storytelling do the rest. I want a life like Mike’s if it mean I can create this kind of art. Until then, I’ll have Lives Like Mine.