On this his 18th album, Michael On Fire delivers “another beautifully crafted, passionate group of songs to nourish the soundtrack of our lives.” – Thomas Cox, Art Escape, Los Angeles (artescape.net)
Blending visionary lyrics with the acoustic instruments of Americana music, the pedal steel of Country, the raw honesty of Blues, the extended solos of Deep Track FM Music, and vocal arrangements that harken back to the early days of rock and roll, we get something that’s new but feels classic.
Michael connects with something deep in the psyche in a way that makes you feel you’ve known the songs your whole life. Almost the entire playlist clicked open a receptor that made it immediately recognizable, though I’d never heard his music before.”- Tom Cochrun, Light Breezes, Cambria (CA.)
In the opening track, Michael sings, “Yesterday is here tomorrow;” that line epitomizes the paradoxical character of this record. Taken as a whole, the 16-song collection belies comparison to other artists and records; it sounds different, the lyrics speak of different things in a different way; it’s unique, and yet paradoxically, almost every song is reminiscent of other seminal artists who’ve influenced this music.
Healing Waters features the California Band that has accompanied Michael on his West Coast (USA) dates since 2012, including Bill Flores on accordion, pedal steel, dobro and mandolin; Bear Erickson on electric guitar, baritone guitar and bass guitar; Tyson Leonard on violin, and Tompeet Frederiksen on drums and percussion. Included also, are two duets with “The Carter Girl,” Carlene Carter. Despite such masterful accompaniment and collaboration, we also (paradoxically) get some of the most simple, honest, stripped down recordings to be found in MOF’s extensive discography, which includes 18 albums, more than 200 songs.
As always with Michael On Fire, the lyrics are a profound component; the songs feature potent social and environmental commentary, spiritual ruminations and personal reflections, fused throughout with a ray of hope that shines forth so clearly in the last verse of the last song:
Somewhere on the Hudson River, I was headed south,
Staring out the window in a dream,
Traveling into New York City, following my fortune,
Floating like a leaf upon a stream,
Somewhere in the distance I heard the voices singing, like an angel choir in the night
And I wonder where my life is going, wonder where my life is going,
Something tells me things will be alright
For an artist whose style has been forged through endless touring, this record comes at a time when touring at a grassroots level makes almost no sense at all, and many of the listening venues are closing their doors or turning to tribute bands, cover bands and DJs; still, this [combination] blue-collar troubadour/celestial composer/poetic sorcerer continues to travel to new places and reach new audiences.
When so much of today’s music seems to exist as a means to some other end, Healing Waters is an end in itself; a piece of art; a great week in time captured on record forever.
We invite you to immerse yourself in these – Healing Waters.
- 11th Hour - Classic-sounding Americana rock; piano, electric guitar, lap steel, accordion, mandolin, bass and drums
- 100 Years from Now – Social and environmental commentary; thumping, rocking
- The Wind Still Blows – acoustic blues with great lyrics and doo-wop straight out of the early days of rock and roll. great dobro too
- Get Out of the Way - a universal mantra for all of us - with great lyrics and Americana sound
- The Lost Sea – Americana Rock / Country Rock; The Lost Sea is in eastern Tennessee
- Be Gentle With This Body – Gentle beauty; acoustic, featuring dobro and pedal steel
- Done This Dance Before - a duet with Carlene Carter and Michael On Fire. Michael's acoustic homage to Danny Kirwan and Peter Green (a la early Fleetwood Mac)
- Man of Free Will – Sassy solo acoustic blues with background vocals
- Garden of Paradise - This one whoops it up! High-spirited Southern / Rock / Jig / / bluegrass / Mountain music with visionary lyrics
- Whatever Happened to America – Classic / Americana / Country Rock featuring guitar, accordion, mandolin, violin
- I Don’t Love You Anymore – duet with Carlene Carter; Country Rock ballad
- Healing Waters – Americana story song / Gentle country rock (like Mark Knopfler), beautiful guitar and lyrics
- Checking Out With You – fast tempo, high energy Western Swing, honky tonk
- I Didn’t Sell My Soul – solo acoustic with haunting pedal steel and poignant poetry
- Please Don’t Leave – beautiful acoustic love song, Americana / Country with pedal steel
- Things Will Be Alright – Americana / Country / Folk road song, storytelling lyrics