Release Date: December 3, 2019
Label: Restless Soul Records
It has been a long time since I heard a Mike Marino album. I had been watching him do some great covers of classic rock songs recently and posting it on Facebook. Now I have the latest release Erosion. His Dylanesque vocals and lyrics are a welcome return to my world.
Mike Marino & His Restless Soul returns with 14 emotive and reflective tracks that are a Rock and Americana indulgence. This is about our America, society, history, and some sadness around all of that. That is a reason his soul is so restless. He grew up in a turbulent time that looks significantly milder than everything going on in 2020. What we have been experiencing is the US losing its mind, forgetting who we are what we stand for. This recording will serve as a reminder and a reality check.
If you listen closely to Mike’s music and lyrics you can hear and feel the longing for better times or times that he remembers from long ago. “Something in Your Eyes” kicks off the proceedings and gets your attention. The question is can he hold that focus straight on through 14 tracks? It is a mountain to climb for any artist, but I have faith in this man. His guitar playing is excellent and his voice sounds like it means business. I thought of Springsteen more than once, not so much for his voice, some, but more about us, our country, and the lyrics that the music gets behind and makes sure you “hear” it and feel it. Mike makes the messages come through punctuated by his easily assimilated music. You will hear country, blues, rock, everything that Americana is.
“Man of Steel / House of Cards” is a story about a strong personality walking on eggshells wondering when everything would come crashing down around him. And if it did would he be a man of steel or would it break him? It gives you a lot to think about, he could be singing about himself, a friend, neighbor, or perhaps even a political figure. All these characters could have this apply to them dependent on the situation. You see, that is what makes this music so relevant and real for our times.
“Watching the World Go By” is one of my favorites with some nasty slide guitar that cuts like a knife. Mike’s countrified voice is a perfect match for this great music. Only he could sing these stories to this music and have it come across like he was living it. He owns everything about each track from start to finish.
Interestingly enough he utilizes different ranges and approaches with his vocals dependent on the pace and type of music being played. Although it is an effective mixture of several genres adding up to one, they are all different. “Nothing Is Free” is a great example of how he changes vocal style to match the lyrics, it is more like a sing-talk story than a rockin’ sing along. The music is blues-inflected with a harmonica wailing like a train coming down the tracks. This is for your history buffs out there; I am sure you will love it.
I realize the title of the album is negative connotation but it is the truth and sometimes we need to hear it all set to music to let it set in and process it. While music is a healing tool it can also offer the vision of another person through their music and it opens the doors to other avenues, we never gave too much thought. It happens seamlessly and before you know you are shaking your head agreeing with the lyrics and seeing how it can apply to your own life.
Mike Marino returns this year firing on all cylinders primed and ready to tell his stories and play the music you will love hearing. If you are open to some good Americana with a man that sings from his heart then you will love Erosion.
Thank you for sharing your music again Mike, Erosion is a great album everyone needs to hear!
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
September 29, 2020
01. Something in Your Eyes
02. What Do We Do Now
03. It's About Time
04. Sad Radio
05. Man of Steel / House of Cards
06. Watching the World Go By
07. Nothing Is Free
08. When Did We Become Strangers
09. Inspiration from Pain
10. Baby It's You
11. Restless Hearts
12. Give Us This Day
13. What Do We Do Now (Reprise)
14. Mind Field