Mike Stinson 'The Jukebox In Your Heart' Stag

Here is a man with a jukebox in his heart who over his three albums he's been writing songs to fill it. Both Jack Of All Heartache and Last Fool At The Bar are rooting in traditional honky tonk memories and mores. The bar is the place where you go when you have no where else to go or when you start looking to restart the process again. Stinson moved to Houston, Texas recently and this album was recorded there. Production, this time has been handled by Jesse Dayton, an renowned artist in his own right, and a perfect producer for Stinson. The players are those often used by Dayton himself with a couple of guesting vocalists such as Jim Lauderdale and Brennan Leigh. His song Late Great Golden State, already covered by Dwight Yoakam, was recorded appropriately enough in Los Angeles and in some ways is a tribute to the early part of his career spent as a stalwart of that particularly active West Coast country scene. Stinson is a fine traditional writer and a distinctive singer who is growing into both attributes. His voice, at times, reminded me of a young Willie Nelson and more than suggests that age will mature his voice into a something that's very much his own. The songs anchored by fiddle and steel and some telling twang (from Dayton) may not fit with everyone's idea of what they think contemporary country to be but this is, without doubt, from the heart and delivered with true feeling and style. Listen to Walk Away to hear a telling sense of loss. Stop The Bar is pure honky-tonk philosophy - a man, a bar, a memory that needs to be revived or lost. While I Will Live To Drink Again is self-explanatory positive pessimism. While No One To Drink With further emphasizes the neon-tinted nature of the loner looking for company for his misery. That may be the overall theme, but the music is delivered in a life-affirming way that makes this a thoroughly enjoyable slice of hardcore country philosophy. Mike Stinson is writing the kind of songs that were once described and delivered as "white man's blues" and it's as important as ever that there is someone, even on the fringes, making this music that will soon find a place in the jukebox in your heart.