Mike Thomas – Diamonds
Sometimes artists can take a standard country-rock-pop approach that’s usually filled with cliches & instead of rolling around in a novelty mud patch, they turn the songs into thrilling examples of why Country is its own art form.
Nashville-based Mike Thomas has produced a CD of electrifying performances. It’s like a salad that’s plain with lettuce but with the addition of celery, onions, radishes & tomatoes it becomes delicious. Thomas serves up music that delicious. Every bite.
Lead off “Room On the Dance Floor,” is spiced with a rollicking accordion & a bit of Tex-Mex sparkles. It’s a mature country tune done with George Strait excellence. No sugar coating, exploring the fact that he’s a working man, doesn’t mix with a crowd but has fun, nonetheless. And there is an audience for that.
“In Your Arms Again,” is a country-blues rocker with stinging guitar & splashy harmonica. A well-thought-out arrangement & performance. Thomas’ inflection on certain lyrics is also admirable. He knows what needs emphasizing.
The 10-track Diamonds (Drops July 21–Electric 3 Records) was produced by Tres Sasser (bass/vocal) & recorded in Franklin, TN. The CD has contemporary approaches to a finely tuned traditional range. Well done, too. Someone who likes George Strait, Willie Nelson & The Band, or Guy Clark would enjoy what Mr. Thomas cooks up. There’s nothing juvenile or elementary here. The lyrics are intelligent & applied to music that enhances each tale. This is mature storytelling about being older & having new dreams. Wow. What a concept for an album.
Thomas brings The Eagles’ rock element to “Breaking the Distance,” with fine vocalizing. There’s a Jackson Browne word-playfulness to the tune with its guitars, driving drums & musical shifts. Some songs address getting older, but few are downers. Thomas seems to walk the decades-long tightrope with confidence & optimism & tries to push aside the negativity. “Tryin’ Ain’t Enough,” has quite a bit of challenging oneself with aggression in the vocal tone. The song has relevance & can be scary.
Thomas will find his place among Townes van Zandt, Guy Clark & Joe Ely. Nowhere on the CD art does Mike Thomas wear a cowboy hat, sit on a rusty truck, hold a can of beer, or wear any stars & spangles. I guess that means the man is comfortable in his own skin. His music certainly is. This is an excellent album.
Highlights – “Room On the Dance Floor,” “In Your Arms Again,” “Breaking the Distance,” “When the House Is Flush,” “Tryin’ Ain’t Enough,” “Bricks, Boards & Stone,” “Diamonds,” “Out Back” & “Daddy’s Blue Collar,” with a fiery Tania Elizabeth fiddle.
Musicians – Mike (acoustic & electric guitars/mandolin/vocals), Donald T. Bright (electric guitar), Mark Huhta (pedal steel/dobro), Weston Woodford (vocals), Dave Colella (drums/percussion), Micha Hulscher (keys/accordion), Michael Sharp (keys), Tania Elizabeth (fiddle/ vocal) & David Henry (strings).
CD cover photo by Jeremy Harris. CD @ https://mikethomasmusic.com/home
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Song Premiere: Mike Thomas A Song Like That (feat. Dan Baird)