Mike Breen - Behind The Blues
Country, Alternative Country, Folk
Arizona, United States
Overall Impression: Mike Breen follows the time-honored tradition of country storytelling in the sweetly sentimental ballad Behind the Blues, where his traditional guitar work marries with tender piano, and nostalgic strains of autoharp and mandola to create a timeless tale of weary resignation and blues blossoming into the sweet surrender of love. The instrumental mastery on display, along with Breen's unwavering delivery of matters of the heart brings the listener back to days as a small child, humble and quiet, content just to have a place to sit and enjoy the music as it unfolds.
Strongest Point(s): Where to begin? Cartsonis's presence with the Autoharp and multiple Mandolas lends Behind the Blues an idyllic, almost storybook-like feel, while still blending with the other instruments flawlessly, a very special and specific je ne sais quoi. The piano's line, provided by Ponzek finds opportunity for plenty of flair and personality amid wonderful simplicity, and the contrast between acoustic and resonator guitar furthers this same sense of carefully crafted restraint. A moment of resolve (at approximately 3.21) and the lead up to it (starting around 3.07) work together to grant the closing measures particular poignance. All that being said, the song truly owes its soul to the excellently arranged and delivered lyrics that paint a vivid picture of a lonely, aging narrator long resigned to his fate, and his miraculous evolution as he begins to discover love in his world, and finally bids the Blues farewell.
Target Audience Appeal: Behind the Blues is essentially Country in structure, but Mike Breen may find it tugging on the heartstrings of Pop, Folk, Singer-Songwriter, and Indie listeners; really anyone who's up for a song full of authentic emotion. Great for live performances, album sales, and personal playlists alike, the possibilities for Behind the Blues are many. My guess would be that there are dozens of prolific country artists who would beg (and pay) for a chance to perform this song, but with the excellent execution of Breen and company, I wouldn't blame him for wanting to keep this one to himself.
Artist target suggestions: Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, Patty Griffin, Gordon Lightfoot, Emmylou Harris, James Taylor, George Jones, Jason Isbell, John Hiatt, Dave Alvin, Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, Elton John
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About the Reviewer:
Mary Wildsmith is an FM Radio DJ, and has been involved in both on-air work and radio production for five and a half years, in addition to working the past decade in and out of the live entertainment industry. She has experience with the fickle nature of the music industry, selecting singles to promote or discard for radio play, and engineering stage to audience sound systems. Having worked balancing, troubleshooting, and running audio rigs has enabled her to be both sensitive, and sympathetic, to the finesse and nuance of quality recording. Mary is passionate about promoting new and independent artists, and has spent extensive time in round-table environments discussing music and audio critically, and collaborating with artists to enable them to put the best possible foot forward with their art.