Mike Miz – Only Human
I’m surprised of late because several artists I have reviewed have all come with song originality & unique vocals. No one sings lame, whispery, or valium induced. All are rooted in inspired material with powerful assertive voices. Mike Miz is in that club. The Northeast Pennsylvania artist is obviously a veteran since his craft is highly polished but never lacks ingenuity & raw rock’ n’ roll presence.
His intro is the Appalachian coal mining picture of “Hand of the Sculptor,” — a high-octane effort with dynamic Amber Woodhouse backup vocals, rollicking piano & thrashing drums that never interfere with the beauty of the piece. Invigorating.
The 39-minute CD was produced by Mike, Brook Sutton & Ted Pecchio (electric & acoustic bass). Only Human (Drops April 14–Blackbird Records) is a 10-cut LP that never lets up with the intriguing subjects of Miz songs – heroin addiction, lost love, decades wasted, trouble with the law – which all lead to an autobiographical journey that provides a degree of redemption. If nothing else, the voice tells it clearly.
The rockers have currents that run through them, the ballads are warm & the songs are showcased in a tight well-performed manner. Unfortunately, some people get their creative juices really sliding like lava down a mountain when they have experienced some struggles in their lives. But if this is the result – let it also be the therapy, the answer & the possible cure. Because Mike Miz (vocals/electric & acoustic guitars) has something to say & he does say it with clarity…stinging clarity.
What I like about Miz is that he’s crafted these pieces with enough original ingredients not to sound at all like any previous artists. He’s not Neil Young, John Mellencamp, or Springsteen. On some songs, he’s injected some hot horns in his rock drive & it’s soulful without being too commercial. A nice jambalaya of music.
Recorded in Nashville the LP includes some wonderfully written & performed ballads that are heartfelt. There are songs that are old-fashioned but that add to the charm. “Less Than Paper Thin,” is quite an original approach in the title alone. That’s an original song title.
Musicians – Laur Joamets (slide guitar/acoustic & Telecaster electric guitar), Jon Radford (drums), Michael Borowski (piano/organ), Jano Rix (organ), Amber Woodhouse, Nicki Bluhm, Jared Reynolds (vocals), Sadler Vaden (guitar solo – “Only Human”), CJ Colandrea (pedal steel), Sol Littlefield (electric guitar), Gideon Klein (strings), Eric Robert (keys/organ), Josh Scalf (trombone), Chris Bellamy (tenor/baritone sax) & Leif Shirez (trumpet).
Highlights – “Hand of the Sculptor,” “Only Human,” “Hell In the Hallway,” “Six Ways From Sunday,” “Less Than Paper Thin,” “The Inn Between” (instrumental) & “Tail Lights,” (with Jared Reynolds’ lead vocals).
CD @ Amazon & https://www.mikemizmusic.com/
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Video Premiere: Mike Miz “Six Ways From Sunday”