Mike Younger's Little Folks Like You and Me

Article Contributed by KG Music Press | Published on Monday, July 24, 2017

Mike Younger is known as a talented musician and songwriter that “...possesses an amazing ability to pour out his life experiences through song.” (Sound Magazine). He is also an outspoken advocate for environmental and humanitarian issues and on Little Folks Like You and Me he expertly weaves these two considerable gifts together.  

Produced by Nashville guitar virtuoso Bob Britt (Leon Russell, John Fogerty, Bob Dylan, Delbert McClinton), Little Folks Like You and Me captures a message of unity and a spirit of defiance.  The album takes you on an uplifting musical journey through the lives of, and in solidarity with everyday people and the challenges of an uncertain time.

“If I Was A Wheel” and “The Living Daylights” start and close the 10-song record, both homages to the working class struggle to live beyond the confines of being overworked and underpaid.   “Never Was A Dancer” is a retelling of first love at the high-school dance, rich with innocence and double-entendre.  “Poisoned Rivers”  is a  Guthrie-esque call for solidarity and unity into a culture currently marred by paralyzing divisions. “Rodeo Queen” , a rowdy country-rock footstomper, and “With Every Heartbeat” bring you up for air after the dark ruminations of “Drifter's Lament” and “What Kind Of World”. All in all, Little Folks Like You And Me takes the listener on a little joyride, both exciting and dangerous, that strays outside the lines from time to time when going around sharp curves. 

“I've got the dreams of the unwanted and the hopes of the unknown,

 riding on my shoulder and stirring in my bones

and I ain't come this far for nothin' and I don't mean to be denied 

so friend if you ain't with me, you'd better stand aside”

                                                                                               from “Drifter's Lament”

Bob Britt's production on Little Folks Like You And Me shows remarkable versatility and mastery. Beyond being a guitar wizard of the highest order, Britt's inherent empathy for the creative vision shines through as much here as it does on Delbert McClinton's 2017 “Prick Of The Litter”, which he also recently produced. Younger, who started out as an acoustic-folkie, has gradually leaned towards the blues and rock and roll.  “For the most part I tried to stay out of the way and let Bob put the lead guitars on the tracks. His extraordinary taste for phrasing and dynamics left a lasting impression and influence.”

Born in Nova Scotia, Younger left Halifax at the age of 17 to see the world and ended up traveling all over Canada as a busker.  At the age of 20 he headed to New York City to be a part of the thriving music scene.  “I was a bit of a free-spirit,” he confesses.  “A gypsy wanderer armed with my wits and my music.  I wasn’t afraid, because I didn’t know what was out there.”  It was years later while performing live on WWOZ in New Orleans that he caught his first break when a music publisher heard the broadcast.  Soon after, Younger began traveling to Nashville to record and perform and his recordings reached the ear of Rodney Crowell.  When Younger signed with his first record company, Crowell stepped in as producer and together they turned out Somethin In The Air in 1999, Younger’s first album.

Over the years Mr Younger has had the honor of working, collaborating and traveling with some of the best in the music business including Levon Helm, Spooner Oldham, Jim Dickinson, Luther Dickinson, Nanci Griffith, and many others.  In fact, Jim Dickinson produced his second album (2001), which never saw the light of day, as the record label collapsed while the record was being finalized.  The tapes fell into a legal limbo and were lost for over 15 years.  Now recovered, the tapes will be completed and released at a future date.  Younger went on to independently release Every Stone You Throw (2004) and Hustled By Squares (2009). 

It was in 2006 that Nashville became Mike's home.  From there he has travelled all over the country to support various causes including the Standing Rock crisis (where he organized and delivered donations gathered from Middle Tennessee residents in support of Standing Rock) and as a feature performer for the “Water is Life Expo”, a fundraiser in Flint, Michigan for the Flint Water Crisis Community. The 10th Annual Boston Greenfest, August 11th-13th, whose goal is to “educate and empower people to create a more sustainable, healthier world” will feature Mike Younger on a line-up of local and national performers.   

“I’ve always been affected by things that seem unjust or out-of-balance,” he said.  “Being immersed in some of music's most important voices of social activism in the works of John Lennon, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and a bunch of others whose work had real social purpose and impact was very influential to my own journey as a writer and performer.”  

 “Artists have nothing to lose by speaking their truth,and to do so unapologetically....especially now. That's what I aim for”.