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MIKE TRAMP – Cobblestone Street

| 26 April 2013 | Reply

Target Records UK/ Deadline Music USA
Released: April 2013
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Mike Tramp - Cobblestone Street CD

Steve Earle, Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Waylon Jennings, Bruce Springsteen… all artists who know how to channel their emotions into song, heartfelt and moving, honestly exposing the inner workings of their soul through music. If you play any fan of the above artists Mike Tramp’s latest album Cobblestone Street, I dare say they would be very surprised to learn of his past as lead singer of the big haired White Lion, alt metal’s Freak Of Nature and more.

Now, I’m not suggesting that Tramp has moved to Nashville, bought a Nudie Suit and transformed into a country twanger, but this collection of endearingly bohemian folky songs are more personal and the arrangements a lot sparser than any of his previous releases.

An album that revolves around absence – of family, of friends, of success, of material worth – it has many tender and melancholy moments, but it’s not dark nor complaining. Rather, these are songs which retain a fundamental optimism: We’ll Be Alright, What Are You Gonna Do, Find It In Your Heart, New Day all call for strength in the face of hard times, and are a stoic reaffirmation of life, abilities, love and belief in one-self.

Without the sturm und drang of a wall of amps behind him, Tramp must rely on his talents at the most fundamental level: his voice and his songwriting are all that matter here, and both are in fine form.

This is a special record: it’s Tramp placing a marker in his life and saying “this is where I’m at and who I am.” Or, as he sings in Ain’t The Life I Asked For, “This ain’t the life that I wanted to live / Now it is what I’ve become”.

One gets the sense that this is the record Tramp has long wanted to make – that this is him channelling his inner artist in its purest form – and it’s honesty, class and optimism make it essential listening not only for fans of his earlier work, but for anyone who appreciates good songwriting.



Category: CD Reviews

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