Americana Highways is hosting this premiere of Mike Thomas’ song “Room on the Dance Floor” from his forthcoming release Diamonds. Diamonds will be available on July 21, via Electric 3 Records. The song will be released on April 14th. The album was produced by Tres Sasser; engineered and mixed by Joe Costa; and mastered by Brian Lucey at Magic Garden Mastering. It was recorded at Tresland Studios.
Musicians on the track are Mike Thomas on acoustic and electric guitar and vocals; Donald T. Bright on electric guitar; Tres Sasser on bass and vocals; Mark Huhta on pedal steel; Weston Woodford on vocals; Dave Colella on drums and percussion; Micah Hulscher on keys and accordion; and Tania Elizabeth on vocals.
Americana Highways: What prompted you to write this song? What inspired it? What is its message?
Mike Thomas: I had blocked off a few days to finish writing the songs for the Diamonds record, and I needed two or three more songs to take into the studio. I was thumbing through my songwriting notebook one morning, and came across the title “Room on the Dance Floor” and a general concept for the song that I had scribbled down years earlier. The original idea was the old tried-and-true theme of the guy who goes through a devastating heartbreak and finds himself struggling to get back out there to give love another try. That theme didn’t really fit with where I was taking this record, so I decided to go in a slightly different direction.
AH: How did this song finally come together?
MT: I’d carried the title and a rough melody around for years, so when I sat down to write the song it came rather quickly. When I took it into the studio and played it for my producer, Tres Sasser, it clicked with him, and we recorded it that day. The only real adjustment we made was a slight key change.
AH: What kind of a vibe were you going for on this song? How does the final version differ from what you imagined it might be before you went into the studio?
MT: What started as a song about a guy trying to find the courage to give love another try, morphed into a deeply personal song about my musical journey. “I don’t go to the parties / I don’t run with the crowd / I’m a workin’ man with a family now / but every now and then I get to wondering / I can’t play their game / It wears me out / Just wanna do my thing from a distance now / but every now and then I think about what might have been…” That opening verse is one hundred percent me. I moved to Nashville in 2004 to pursue a career in music but wound up putting music on the shelf for nearly 15 years. I started a family, a career, a small business, and settled into the family man groove. I’ve got zero regrets about the path I chose, but there has always been a part of me that wonders what might have been if I’d stuck with music from the onset. In many ways, this song is about a second chance at a dream that I thought was long gone. I’m fortunate that, at 41 years old, I’ve gotten another chance to pursue that dream, but there is also a part of me that feels like starting up a music career at my age is half crazy! I aimed to capture that gratitude, youthful enthusiasm, and middle-aged self-doubt all in one song.
As far as the vibe, I wanted to pay homage to many of my musical influences in this song. Given the subject matter, this just felt like the thing to do. When Micah Hulcsher’s piano shows up in the first verse, I hear those old Springsteen tracks, and his accordion in the chorus reminds me of that classic Bakersfield sound. Mark Huhta’s pedal steel and Donald Bright’s clean guitar tone remind me of the classic country sounds I grew up on. But the highpoint of the track for me are the vocal harmonies in the chorus. I’ve got to credit my best friend and bandmate, Weston Woodford, for this idea. Weston and I have been singing together since we were kids, and you’ll hear his harmony on nearly every song I’ve ever recorded. On the day Weston came in to record his harmonies, I had to step out for about half an hour to take a phone call. When I came back in, the track was playing and Tres and Joe Costa, the engineer, were just looking at me with huge smiles on their faces. Weston had recorded a three-part harmony that really filled out the chorus. It blew me away, and it reminded us of those harmonies you’d hear on those old Alabama recordings. From there, Tres got in the mix with a harmony vocal and we even had Tania Elizabeth record a harmony part after she had laid down her fiddle parts on a couple of other songs on the record.
AH: What do you hope listeners get from hearing the song? What message do you hope it conveys?
MT: Honestly, I am a little bit apprehensive about releasing this song as a single. While the subject matter is pretty personal, I tried to make it lyrically and musically relatable. I am proud of how this song turned out, and we all agreed that it was a single candidate, but you just never know how a song is going to land until it’s out there in the world. With every song I release, I am looking to make a connection with my listener – musically, lyrically, and hopefully both. I just pray the song strikes a nerve and resonates with my audience. If there is a message to take away, it’s that it is never too late to chase a dream or pursue your passion, even if it feels half crazy!
AH: What is coming up next for Mike Thomas?
We’ll have one more single following this one, and then, later this year, we’ll release the full “Diamonds” record. I am really pleased with how the record turned out, and I will spend plenty of time playing shows and supporting the record before turning the page to begin working on the next one.
With a fresh breath of country rock air, this song gets you to “think about what might have been” as you reflect on the possibilities of an old flame and second chances. “Some things are just meant to be.”
Find more information about Mike Thomas here: https://lnk.fu.ga/mikethomas_roomonthedancefloor
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Song Premiere: Mike Thomas “A Song Like That” (feat. Dan Baird)