Mike Evin: Life As a Lover
Submitted by Lee Fraser
Sultry, sexy, smooth: this is how the album opens up, with simple hand claps and piano. Mike Evin’s smooth and friendly voice draws you into his reminiscences of past loves. Joined by guitar and synths, “Have I Ever Loved” carries the ache of searching for true love. Mike’s rich musical past, experiences in different cultures and sincere admiration of greats like Al Green and Bill Withers all come together and gives Evin the innate ability to compose songs that are instantly engrained.
The very next song shows the flip side of Evin’s writing style. From soulful and reflective, the mood switches to playful with the song “Shake Well”, a nod to nutritional supplement beverages. It’s difficult not to sway to this song, and producer Howie Beck has wisely left Evin’s commentary between verses and choruses, the oh yas and exuberant woos that indicate the enthusiasm of the performance.
The rest of the album provides more songs of searching for true love, scattered with fun songs about babies and dogs and grandmothers. Evin has led a life of grand experiences but he is also able to observe the simple things in life and put them into song in a way that makes us all nostalgic.
Though the core of this album involves piano, percussion and guitar, Evin and Beck have incorporated bass, synths, bass synths and horns on this album. The horns give songs like “If I Stay This Lonely” an extra mournful sound while adding some swing to “Shake Well”. The organ and reverb on the vocals for “Darlin’ Whenever” might remind you of an 80’s chart topper and the hopeful lyrics just might bring back some teenage angst.
The outstanding track on this album is “Al Green”. Evin and his musical buddies Ben Whiteley and Adam Warner, along with Beck, have arranged a song that has the sound of a classic. And the sentiment! Oh the sentiment! “I don’t have the fire in me to kiss my sweetheart the way she needs.” This is not only a nod to the feeling that emanates from hits like “I’m Still in Love With You” and “Let’s Stay Together” but it magically reflects the burning desire to have that kind of love one day. Simply incredible.
From the torturous search for a monumental love to the free-wheeling spirit that just wants to make the most of this life, the album has a little something for all of us, every day. It’s a bright and hopeful album, one that lifts you up and brings you hope and joy. And sexiness.