I never thought that I would say this but…. I woke up this morning feeling all “rocked out”. Three nights of live music including the sublime Deborah Bonham Band but followed up with two exceptionally loud and heavy bands found me greeting this grey Sunday with the feeling that my rock spirit was a little frayed around the edges. Having declared such a state of emergency I set about the Sunday routine and thought I’d better try and do some of this here writing. Fortunately for me, I received the new solo album from Mike Tramp yesterday and, having heard about it being somewhat of a departure from his previous work, I thought I’d give it a spin (metaphorically speaking in these days of mp3).
What a revelation. A record that managed to hook me from first track to last, “Cobblestone Street” provided the perfect soundtrack to my Sunday feeling a lttle less than ready to rock. Blending Tramp’s acoustic guitar and vocals this is clearly an album of passion. In places the lyrics are quite dark but the album never sticks to one path followed by many, maudlin singer-songwriters over the years. Having said that, it should not have come as such a big surprise as, even in the White Lion days, Tramp’s lyrics never quite stuck to the road followed by the rest of the late 80s hair-metal brigade. Much like another great of the era, Dan Reed, this solo work by Mike Tramp allows him to reveal more of his soul than would have been possible in the days of spandex and hairspray. The album was inspired by a 40 show tour across Europe last year. Mike comments that it was the “most rewarding and fulfilling tour I have ever done, and that coincides with an album that represents all of that, and is just real completion to what I have worked so hard to accomplish.”
“This is the album I have waited a long, long time to record, because I didn’t have the guts to do it earlier on. Still it’s not just a matter of doing an album like this and then returning to the screaming Marshall amplifiers, thundering bass and drums like canons,” Tramp says. “This is where I am, and this is where I am going to stay as a solo artist, and anytime the urge to play loud rock’n’roll awakes in me, it will be some kind of band project where I am just the singer and part of the package.”
The album was recorded at Medley Studio, Copenhagen-Denmark in summer of 2012, with just Mike and his good friend engineer/Co-producer and multi-instrumentalist Soren Andersen (Glen Hughes band).
It would be pushing it to call this album upbeat but what a brilliant record. White Lion it most definately is not but this is the kind of music that all lovers of music (not just rock) need to hear – when you feel the need to kick back, relax and allow the waves of wonder wash over you. If this is what happens when rock stars “grow-up” then that suits me just fine. Painting pictures with the lyrics (the title track has me picturing life in Denmark, “What Are You Gonna Do” has you living the life of near failure but still keeping going). I can see this album sticking with me for a long time – and should this grey, rainy mess that is Britain ever get a summer I can see this being the soundtrack to those last few drinks in the evening. Not only that but I’m even in the mood to have a bit of a rock out again too.
”Cobblestone Street” is available now via Target Records on CD, limited digipack CD (with 2 bonus tracks), LP and digitally.
”Cobblestone Street” track listing:
01. Cobblestone Street
02. Caught In The Storm
03. New Day
04. Ain’t The Life I Asked For
06. We’ll Be Alright
07. Angel Or Devil
08. Find It In Your Heart
09. What Are You Gonna Do
You can also see Mike live in the UK during May
21.05.2013 Railway: Ipswich, UK
22.05.2013 Star Of Kings: London, UK (support from the lovely Mia Klose)
23.05.2013 The Railway: Bolton, UK
24.05.2013 Snooty Fox: Wakefield, UK
25.05.2013 The Diamond: Ballymena, Northern Ireland
27.05.2013 Bar Bliss: Kirkintilloch, Scotland
28.05.2013 Classic Grand: Glasgow, Scotland
29.05.2013 The Diamond: Mansfield, UK
For more information see: