MUSIC-MAN MIKE LYNCH MAPS THE ROADWAYS OF HUMAN HEARTS Review by Jay Scott Kanes Author, Island Toes A’Tapping (2006) ST. CATHARINES, Ontario, Canada
Following the recent death of Stomping Tom Connors, long regarded as Canada’s leading …traveling balladeer, the task of upholding hit-the-road musical traditions falls squarely onto the likes of Ontario-based Mike Lynch. Being in some respects even more talented than Connors, Mike appears fully equal to the challenge. A country-music songwriter and guitar-string puller with a wealth of experience gained when traveling and performing from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans, Mike recently released a new CD, titled Transitions. In a slight “change of gears”, he filled this collection mostly with love songs, turning into more of a troubadour than ever. From “Our Love” and “Krissy’s Song” to the likes of “Right All Along” and “Far Away Girl”, these songs follow not the routes shown on highway maps, but rather the trails of love passing through human hearts. These pathways can prove highly complex.
“Hard as nails, she can be, Or soft as a pillow some days. She can stir me up, put a fire in my side, Or say that she loves me after a fight, Oh, this love, it ain’t perfect, But it’s our love…. Our love is like a wide-open sky, Sun in your face, tear in your eye, It’s beautiful, yeah.” From “Our Love”, Mike Lynch, Transitions, 2013
Mike assesses some of the important lessons that he has learned on journeys of the heart. “Every girlfriend taught me something, Something about love. When I was younger, I thought I knew love. But really I didn’t know that much. Always learning, We’re still learning about love….” From “Krissy’s Song”, Mike Lynch, Transitions, 2013
Even an on-the-move musician can form the most truly meaningful attachments. As Mike sings: “Her name was Krissy. It’s a funny story. She moved in next door, And into my house, And into my heart, And I never let her go, And we’re still learning. We’re still learning about love….” From “Krissy’s Song”, Mike Lynch, Transitions, 2013
Produced by Matt Keighan and by Mike, Transitions emerges from Audiomat (www.audiomat.ca
), a studio in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Among the supporting musicians, Jay Reed plays electric guitar, Keighan handles drums and Joel Banks tugs on bass guitar. Not only did Mike write every song, but he plays piano and harmonica too.
Mike’s high-magnitude impact resonates on every track. Along with a wealth of love songs, Transitions features several tracks about other challenges, like nicotine addiction (“Last Cigarette”) and persistent partying (“I Tied One on Last Night”).
“This is my very last cigarette, I’ll never smoke again, Just like the one I had late last night, and the one before then…. The doctor says if I don’t quit, It soon will be my death…. Now I’m hanging onto Every living, loving, last puff Like it’s my last breath. Why do all the good things Have to be so damn bad for us?” From “Last Cigarette”, Mike Lynch, Transitions, 2013
Sometimes life poses serious challenges. Then mere survival tests a person. “Hard times on the left hand, Troubles on the right. It’s hard to be a good man, When you’re fighting for your life. You’ll cheat, you’ll steal, You’ll never sleep at night, When there’s hard times on the left hand, Troubles on the right.” From “Hard Times on the Left Hand, Troubles on the Right”, Mike Lynch, Transitions, 2013
Another song, “Happy Days”, blends words of longing with an update about the characters in a long-popular television show. “Richie Cunningham fell in love with Lori Beth. They got married and had a family of their own. Mr. and Mrs. C, you know they’re still together, And Fonzie still likes to ride that motorbike. And I want to be part of your Happy Days, Your haaaa-ppy days….” From “Happy Days”, Mike Lynch, Transitions, 2013
Listeners to this album easily find much to like. Anyone seeking flaws or disagreeable aspects will find the going much tougher.