|Mike Grogan — Too Many Ghosts (Feb. 10th, 2017)|
Mike Grogan — Too Many Ghosts (Feb. 10th, 2017)°::° Album described somewhere between folk, alt. country, Americana and a British feel. “....A COMMANDING VOICE AND A UNIQUE STYLE...., COMPELS LISTENER TO BELIEVE EVERY WORD....” — **** Maverick Magazine
°::° “The album goes through a variety of topics; feeling strong, looking for happiness, looking to the past, finding happiness — but it keeps one theme throughout: the understanding of the search for happiness and love. A great album here with fantastic narrative and lyrical content.” (Maddy Glenn)
Location: Portsmouth, UK
Genre: Folk: Singer~Songwriter
Recorded: at ‘The Green Room’ in Upottery, Devon.
Album release: February 10th, 2017
Record Label: Poacher Records.
01. Show Them What Love Can Do 4:57
02. Let Me Feel The Rain 3:41
03. Too Many Ghosts 4:21
04. The Way 3:08
05. Big Ships 4:00
06. Hallelujah 4:14
07. Wish You 3:45
08. Underground 5:04
09. Heaven Is Here 2:48
10. Goodnight 2:26
°::° All songs written by Mike Grogan
°::° Produced by Mark Tucker
ι≡ι ‘Too Many Ghosts’ is Mike Grogan’s third studio album. R2 Magazine said of the album that ‘Grogan experiments with a sound that falls somewhere between folk, alt. country, Americana and a traditional British feel that adds to its uniqueness’. The album features the musicianship of some great artists such as John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick (The Who, Free, Bob Marley, Crawler), Phil Beer and Miranda Sykes (Show of Hands), James Eller (The The). 'Too Many Ghosts’ which was produced by the great British Record Producer Mark Tucker, is an album that reflects back on life but says don’t let the past hold you back. Don’t let anything hold you back from where you want to go and what you need to do!
ι≡ι Recorded and Produced by Devon~based Mark Tucker (Show of Hands: Wake the Union / Long Way Home), Too Many Ghosts is released on February 10th via Poacher Records.
by Mike Davies. 9 February, 2017
ι≡ι As with his previous release, Mike Grogan’s third album, Too Many Ghosts, takes a conceptual approach, a reflection on things past but with an optimistic outlook on things to come, an encouragement to move beyond superficial, here and now satisfaction, and to do the right thing.
ι≡ι Although the Portsmouth~based singer~songwriter has a punk background (lead singer with The Untouchables) and fronted a Springsteen~inspired seven~piece in the ‘80s, these days Mike Grogan’s far more of a folk persuasion, the songs shaded with blues influences and Celtic atmospheres. Case in point is the opening positivity statement Show Them What Love Can Do, one of the several tracks to feature Phil Beer, here on acoustic guitar and violin. Beer’s not the only familiar name, with contributions also provided by veteran keyboards player John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick, bass player and composer James Eller (The The) and, on three numbers, backing vocals by Miranda Sykes.
ι≡ι Their first appearances come with the equally moody Let Me Feel the Rain, a song about opening yourself up to whatever comes, burnished by Joseph O’Keefe’s violin, and, with Beer on mandolin, the following title track with its slow waltzing chorus and a lyric about not being trapped by the past.
ι≡ι O’Keefe returns, adding piano to his violin parts, for The Way, a folksy ‘finding salvation’ anthemic number that draws on the massed voices of the Green Man Folk Club, Alton, for the choral backing. Further trad folk influences can be heard on the fuller arrangement of Big Ships, a tribute to the navy vessels of old that, in times of conflict, kept the seas safe.
ι≡ι Evocative of Van Morrison, the simple piano~backed I Wish You is another hope for the future. While Hallelujah muses on the life beyond and, featuring swelling violin and churchy organ from Bundrick, Underground is a gently melodic call that draws on mining imagery for a song about joining to dig our way to freedom in times of darkness.
ι≡ι The album closes on two further upbeat notes. With Beer on mandolin and violin, Heaven Is Here is jaunty old school folk rock. While, featuring Chris Hoban on accordion and tinkling piano notes by O’Keefe, Goodnight is a waltzing benediction, summing up the overall thematic thread in the lines “may you strive and make good and leave love in your wake.” The message, like the music, is simple, direct and clear. And both all the more effective for it. ι≡ι http://www.folkradio.co.uk/
Maddy Glenn | February 11, 2017 | Score: 7/10
CD Baby: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/mikegrogan
Ian Shipley, Score: 4/5
Marc Higgins, Northern Sky.
ι≡ι TOO MANY GHOSTS is Mike Grogan’s third album and his fourth release. It follows a significant gap after MAKE ME STRONG, his last album. Clearly Mike has spent the time playing and reflecting, as there is a significant shift and refinement, that much is obvious from the first moment of the first track. The wonderfully rich voice that gave us The Light Of The World on MAKE ME STRONG is still there as is his fine fingerpicking guitar, but there is a swagger, a presence, that lifts the whole album. ι≡ι Show Them What Love Can Do just smoulders and burns. It opens with a chorus vocal and a Phil Beer’s fiery violin, but quickly builds to a sound that is more Elbow and Guy Garvey than Festival Folk Tent. You know that the infectious chorus is going to sound amazing picked up by a large beery crowd part way through a set as the sun is going down. The violin is joined by an express train guitar and the song dissolves into that chorus and you know it will last forever at the end of a gig. Let Me Feel The Rain is a perfect adult pop song, after a beer, if this came on the jukebox most people would agree that it’s an excellent song and swear blind that Robbie Williams has found his mojo again. Mike croons and pulls at your heartstrings like the best of the old school crooners. Wonderful keyboards on this track and through the album by John ‘Rabbit’ Bundrick, a man with real studio chops. The title track turns the acoustic folk back up with mandolin trills and gentle swells of accordion, but Mike makes it timeless by laying down another killer perfectly paced ear~worm chorus duetting with Miranda Sykes. The Way continues the folky vibe, heartfelt lyrics, tasteful percussion and a perfect stripped back middle section of voice violin and piano. Powerful chorus is provided by The Green Man Folk Club in Alton, proof that Mike Grogan is the pied piper when it comes an infectious singalong. I wonder if he tapes all his gigs for the next album, just in case. Jokes aside perhaps the strength of the material and his delivery is that it is all road tested and as familiar as a vintage Martin D~28. Big Ships is one of those hairs on the back of the neck songs. It opens with some atmospherics and violin that place it in Show Of Hands territory and Grogan’s warm weathered voice paired with a rolling violin makes an excellent job of it. If you are going to record with Mike Tucker, Phil Beer and Miranda Sykes then Show Of Hands are the elephant in the room. I don’t think it diminishes or demeans what Grogan does with his fine songwriting and strong voice to make the connection. Hallelujah is a fine song that recalls the intelligent contemporary rock music of Elbow and includes some particularly poignant lyrics.
ι≡ι Underground, like much of the album, is a collision of old and new, a wheezing pump organ opens the track but is joined by a looped chorus and a pulsing electronic beat and a wonderfully Floydian vocal from Miranda Sykes. Mike’s lyric draws on mining imagery and paints a powerful picture, amplified by some very intelligent backing. The track is supremely evocative, the spirits of Tin Miners, Colliers, First World War Sappers and blitz scarred civilians are all crouched terrified in the dark with us. Perhaps we are all, in some way trapped and in a time of darkness. A perfect song, a folk song for the future and very much like Mike Grogan, screaming for wider exposure. If they ever film Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams Tunnels series of books, here is the theme music. Heaven Is Here and Goodnight end the album in an upbeat pairing. Goodnight especially is heartfelt, a stripped back voice and guitar joined by piano and accordian. With more than a nod to Dylan’s Forever Young, it sounds like a benediction, written to close proceedings as an encore after a fine gig. ι≡ι http://www.northernskymag.com/
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|Mike Grogan — Too Many Ghosts (Feb. 10th, 2017)|