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bluesman

Mike Younger is a performer of high caliber and depth. His music ranges in genre from blues, country, folk, rhythm & blues, rock & roll, soul and gospel. Having started out as a street singer in Canada, his transformation into recording artist is filled with raucous tales of hard travels and determination. A writer of inspiring ballads and soulful verses, he presents his original works and interpretations in a unique style of his own.

 

Squatter Days New York City 1992 photo courtesy of Paul Toman

 

Mike left his hometown Halifax Nova Scotia to see the world at the tender age of 17, earning his way primarily by playing his guitar and singing on street corners, in parks and subway platforms. By freight and by thumb he travelled Canada for several years, performing mostly in Vancouver and Toronto. Blues, traditional Country and early Rocknroll caught his ear and at 20 he travelled to New York City to search for the remnants of the thriving music scene that it once nurtured. Survival in the streets was a great challenge at this point in the journey, but Mike perservered and stayed close to the music. In the bitterly cold winter of ’93, facing the elements in an abandoned building in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Mike decided to press southward to the heart of this music that had caught him up. New Orleans, the Big Easy, Mardi Gras….the land of Fats Domino, Louis Armstrong, Professor Longhair and so many other music legends. As an avid disciple of the music, there was much to learn in New Orleans and, in many ways, experiences there have  played the greatest role in shaping the musical identity that Mike Younger has become.

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Photo courtesy of Alan Messer

 

It was while performing live on WWOZ New Orleans on John Sinclair’s radio show that Mike caught his first break, in 1997 when a Nashville music publisher heard the broadcast and contacted the station to inquire about the music he had just heard over his car stereo. Soon after that, Mike began travelling to Nashville to record and perform and from there his recordings reached the ear of Rodney Crowell, and when Mike signed with his first record company, Rodney stepped in as producer and they released 1999’s “Somethin In The Air”. Working the AAA and non-commercial radio circuit and enjoying the support of stations acoss the US, Mike toured until 2001 when he travelled to Memphis to record his second album with Jim Dickinson as producer. Dickinson enlisted Levon Helm, Spooner Oldham, David Hood and his sons Luther and Cody Dickinson to back Mike on that project. In a heartbreaking worst-case-music-biz-scenario, the label’s underpinnings came undone before the project was fully completed and released. In fact, the project remained mired in obscurity for 15 years.

 

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Photo courtesy of Alan Messer

After dissolving his partnership with the label, Mike went on to independenly release “Every Stone You Throw” in 2004 with his band from NYC, following up with radio promotion and touring. He moved from New York to Nashville in 2006 and began assembling the band that would become “The Marksmen”, performing locally and writing the songs for his 2009 release “Hustled By Squares”. Independently released, it was widely supported by radio programmers that recognised Mike’s talent, and “Mike Younger & The Marksmen” hit the road playing clubs and festivals around the country.

 In 2013, with guitar master Bob Britt’s production and a line-up of some of Nashville’s best players Mike began the recording project that would come to be entitled “Little Folks Like You And Me”. The first single from that record is now available as a download at www.mikeyounger.com. “Poisoned Rivers” features Bob Britt on slide guitar, Steve Mackey on stand-up bass, Dave Colella on percussion, John Wallum on pump organ and Mike on guitar and harmonica.

Alongside this great new record, in 2015, with the help of Nashville producer Ray Kennedy and Memphis producer Dawn Hopkins, eight 2″ reels of tape from the 2001 recording session in Memphis were salvaged and are currently being prepared for future release. The 15 year battle to reclaim the work had some very difficult moments indeed, but the circumstances around the recent reclamation of these tapes have created new opportunities to reach new fans and Mr. Younger is currently very busy preparing the release of two full-length recording projects in the near future.

 

In the past Mike has had the honor of recording, touring and performing with some of the best in the business including Levon Helm, Spooner Oldham, David Hood, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Jim Dickinson, Luther Dickinson, Nanci Griffith, BR549, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Mike Farris, John Hammond Jr, Bob & Etta Britt, Asleep At The Wheel, Kansas, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Bonnie Bishop, Greg Garing and lots more.

Mike Younger’s website is at www.mikeyounger.com

 

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Photo courtesy of Alan Messer